FLOYDS KNOBS — It’ll be Providence and Silver Creek — or Silver Creek and Providence, if you prefer — in today’s Floyd Central girls’ tennis regional championship for the second straight year.

The 25th-ranked Pioneers improved to 18-2 with a 4-1 victory over New Albany on Tuesday, and the Dragons (17-2) got by the host Highlanders 3-2, setting up a rematch of last year’s final, won by Silver Creek 3-2.

The Pioneers beat Silver Creek 4-1 in their season opener on April 11, but Dragons senior Mandy Phelps got hurt and had to retire from her match at No. 1 singles.

“I expect a fight to the finish,” Pioneers coach Barry Decatur said.

The winner advances to Saturday’s Jasper Semistate — the state tournament round of 16 — for a semifinal match against the winner of today’s Seymour Regional final between No. 21 Columbus North (16-6) and No. 10 Bloomington South (19-4).

Silver Creek-Floyd Central

The Dragons took a quick 2-0 lead with singles wins from Phelps at No. 1 (6-0, 6-0 over Emma LaDuke) and Sarah Hebble at No. 2 (6-0, 6-1 over Jessica VanWinkle).

But the Highlanders won first sets in both doubles matches and secured wins on both courts. Abby Enteman and Stacy Eveslage beat Amanda Haas and Frances Mumaw 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1, and Jessie Wimbec and Kayla Prusinski prevented a split with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) victory over freshmen Mackenzie Moore and Kendall Regan.

Silver Creek senior Kristie Staley was up a set but down 4-1 in the second to sophomore Kelsey Wisman at No. 3 singles when the Wimbec-Prusinski win tied the team score 2-2.

Staley took some advice from Dragons coach Mike Crabtree and proceeded to win the next five games, two on service breaks, with more confident groundstrokes, securing Silver Creek’s spot in the final with her 6-1, 6-4 win.

“He told me, ‘You have the strokes. You don’t have to hit it too hard, but you need to hit it harder than you are,’” Staley said. “More pace on the ball made her hit more errors because she wasn’t used to me hitting it like that.”

Said Crabtree of Staley’s surge: “Basically, she concentrated more than anything else. She’s playing well.”

Floyd Central coach Rick Miller said the Highlanders, who finished 14-7, were a little too green to win Tuesday.

“Our inexperience really showed tonight. It just got away from them,” he said. “But hopefully, it’s a building block for us.”

Silver Creek had lost to the Highlanders 3-2 early in the season, but the Dragons are more stable now with Hebble at No. 2 singles instead of at No. 3.

“I think we’re playing better all the way down the line,” Crabtree said. “We’ll have to pick it up tomorrow, though. We won’t have to play great, but we hope to play within our ability. I think either team will have to play really well to win.”

Providence-New Albany

The Pioneers won all three singles matches — one with ease, another with some difficulty and the third in a three-set marathon — and the No. 2 doubles court.

Paige Grable was pushed some by senior Elle Jakoby at No. 1 singles before winning 6-1, 7-5. At No. 2, Jill Grable cruised 6-0, 6-2 over freshman Kylia Sullivan, who was playing for ill senior Ashley Heishman and had to be carried off the court herself after hurting an ankle on match point.

Providence senior Ann Huynh held off freshman Kylie Crecelius 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the No. 3 singles match, which lasted more than two hours.

“I was real proud of Ann,” Decatur said. “Two years ago, she used to go three sets and win almost every time, but she hasn’t come back to win very much this year. So maybe she’s back to her old self.”

Whitney Thomas and Hayley Koetter jumped on Kaitlin Tretter and Kaitlyn Focken at No. 2 doubles en route to a 6-0, 6-4 win. New Albany’s point came from senior Mallory Warren and junior Amanda Schocke, who avenged a regular-season loss to Holly Kimmel and Erin Brown with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 1 doubles.

“I would’ve liked to have gone out a little stronger, but I’m awfully pleased with No. 1 doubles,” said Bulldogs coach Bob Dusch, whose team finished 8-7. “Given the fact that we used two freshmen and two sophomores in the top seven today, and a junior, I feel pretty good about it.”

Decatur said Providence, which also beat New Albany 4-1 last week, is playing with more assurance this year than last.

“There’s definitely a lot more confidence this year,” he said. “The goal from the get-go was to get to semistate.”

Note: New Albany’s Warren and Schocke and Floyd Central’s Enteman and Eveslage, both still undefeated at No. 1 doubles in the postseason, will continue playing despite their respective teams being eliminated Tuesday. The date and time of their next matches will be released as soon as today by the IHSAA.

Today at Floyd Central will be two doubles regional matches. Jeffersonville’s No. 1 team of Shauna Botlo and Jessica Chesher face New Washington’s Ashley Brown and Ivy Ivers, and Crawford County’s top duo meets South Central’s. In singles regional action today, Clarksville junior Tiffany Welcher plays North Harrison’s Kelsey Pierson.




Singles — Phelps (S) d. LaDuke 6-0, 6-0; Hebble (S) d. VanWinkle 6-0, 6-1; Staley (S) d. Wisman 6-1, 6-4.

Doubles — Enteman-Eveslage (F) d. Haas-Mumaw 6-3, 6-3; Wimbec-Prusinski (F) d. Moore-Regan 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).


Singles — P. Grable (P) d. Jakoby 6-1, 7-5; J. Grable (P) d. Sullivan 6-0, 6-2; Huynh (P) d. Crecelius 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Doubles — Warren-Schocke (N) d. Kimmel-Brown 6-3, 6-4; Thomas-Koetter (P) d. Tretter-Focken 6-0, 6-4.

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