WARSAW TENNIS: LADIES CAP UNBEATEN NLC SEASON
StaceyPageOnline / Sports on Monday, May 7, 2018
WARSAW – It was only fitting that the Warsaw singles lineup was almost unbeatable Monday night.
The stellar trio of Liza Lewis, Ella Knight and Alyssa Zellers have been that way throughout most of the season for the Tigers.
The trio dropped one game total as Warsaw wrapped up an undefeated regular-season run through the Northern Lakes Conference by blanking league foe Goshen 5-0.
Warsaw improves to 11-3 overall and finishes 7-0 in NLC play.
“I’m just thrilled for our girls,” said Warsaw coach Rick Orban in a phone interview Monday night following the shutout of the RedHawks on the Warsaw courts. “This was their goal and they accomplished it. They kept their focus all season in every NLC match. It’s tough to go undefeated in the NLC.”
Seniors Lewis and Knight, a pair of four-year standouts, led the way at the top of the singles lineup.
Lewis posted a 6-1, 6-0 win over Anna Podgorski on the No. 1 singles court. Knight topped Lucy Kramer 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles action. Lewis will play at Marian University next year, while Knight will take her game to Kalamazoo College.
Sophomore Zellers completed the singles sweep with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Madison Rittenhouse at No. 3.
The Tigers also swept the doubles courts. Sophomore Taylor Shoaf and Rachel Boyle beat Brooke Grewe and Kathryn Detwiler 6-4, 6-3 at No. 1 play. The team of juniors Reagan Merchant and Rachel Yeager stopped Sophia Kirkton and Sage Christner 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2.
Warsaw, which has advanced to the semistate each of the past two seasons, beat Goshen, Wawasee, Northridge and Elkhart Memorial by 5-0 counts in NLC play. The Tigers beat NorthWood 4-1 and topped both Plymouth and NLC runner-up Concord by 3-2 finals.
“I think that it’s a great achievement to go 7-0 in the conference,” remarked Orban. “It’s a major accomplishment to run the table.”
Warsaw will now head into the NLC Tournament looking to win it in order to claim the overall NLC championship outright. The tourney is set for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Plymouth. The Tigers will then take aim at the program’s 18th straight sectional title at home next week.
“We will talk at practice on Tuesday about the NLC Tourney,” Orban offered. “I want them to come out strong and focused every match. I want them to play their best right from the start of it. I always use the NLC Tourney to see where we are at mentally heading into the sectional and that’s what I will be doing.
“I think that the tourney is important to our girls. I just want them to come out sharp and I want them to want it.”
Goshen won the junior varsity action 7-6. Winners for Warsaw in singles play were Libby Jenkins and Amy Herendeen. Winning in doubles for the JV Tigers were the teams of Addison Marshall and Anna Grill, Izzy Ray and Maddie Ray, Annie Burnett and Katrielle Rodgers and Kat Josellis and Gracie Lewis.
The Warsaw varsity, which has lost twice to No. 4 Carroll and once to No. 24 Fort Wayne Canterbury this season, will compete in the NLC Tournament starting Wednesday at Plymouth.