By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Wins have been hard to come by for the youthful NorthWood and Wawasee high school girls tennis teams this season.
The two squared off in an NLC match Thursday at Wawasee with the NorthWood Panthers emerging with a 5-0 victory.
“It’s our second win of the season,” NorthWood coach Tif Schwartz said. “We have had a lot of close ones so it was nice to have a 5-0 win. The girls played well considering the wind. We had to move our match on Tuesday (at Warsaw) indoors because of the weather. Then you come back out in the wind today. It’s hard for the players to adjust. It really levels the playing field.”
“Our girls played a good match,” Wawasee co-coach Alisha Anthony said. “Experience may have been the deciding factor. NorthWood has more of it. More than half our girls have never played tennis before this season.”
Senior Trista Grove wrapped up NorthWood’s first point with her 6-0, 6-1 win over Wawasee sophomore Samantha Klinge at No. 3 singles. NorthWood’s No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Sarah Wysong and freshman Tori Schwartz made it 2-0 with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over seniors Karla Allen and Mia Hauser of Wawasee. The match clinching point came at No. 2 doubles where Panther seniors Kayla Bear and Brooklyn Moore posted a 6-2, 6-1 win over Wawasee senior Laura Gomez and sophomore Samantha Prins.
“It was really windy tonight and one of the things we told the girls is to constantly keep moving their feet,” Schwartz said. “On a night like this you can’t relax at anytime. You have to stay on your toes.
“If a ball is in you have to be ready to hit it. You have to be ready and you can’t assume a ball is going to be out. The wind may blow it ball into play. At times you almost have to hit the ball out and let the wind blow it back.”
NorthWood’s next point came at No. 1 singles where sophomore Kennedy Walter notched a 6-4, 6-2 win over Wawasee senior Morgan Geer.
“The wind makes it tougher,” Walter said. “Coach told us to keep our feet moving at all times. You have to accommodate for the wind.
“My forehand is my strongest shot. I don’t like to volley. I like hitting strong ground strokes.
“My opponent was very consistent. She was hitting ground strokes and the wind was making it difficult for me to get to them.”
The longest match was at No. 2 singles where Panther junior Emily Hoffman outlasted Wawasee sophomore Katy Ashpole 6-3, 7-5.
The second game featured 10 match points.
“My husband counted the match points,” Schwartz said. “It says a lot about Emily as a player to win a match like that and it says a lot about her opponent for fighting back that many times.”
“Katy (Ashpole) played a tough match,” Wawasee co-coach Janessa Jergensen. “I was proud of her the way she stuck with it.”
NorthWood 5, Wawasee 0
No. 1 — Kennedy Walter (NW) def. Morgan Geer 6-4, 6-2; No. 2 — Emily Hoffman (NW) def. Kathy Ashpole 6-3, 7-5; No. 3 — Trista Grove (NW) def. Samantha Klinge 6-0 6-1.
No. 1 — Sarah Wysong-Tori Schwartz (NW) def. Karla Allen-Mia Hauser 6-0, 6-1.
No. 2 — Kayla Bear-Brooklyn Moore (NW) def. Samantha Prins-Laura Gomez 6-2, 6-1.
Records: NorthWood (2-8, 1-6 NLC) hosts Mishawaka Marian Monday. Wawasee (2-9, 0-6) competes in the Angola Invitational Saturday.
JV: NorthWood won 5-2. (NorthWood winners: Megan Reed, Kate Adams, Kaitlyn Swihart, Taylor Stutzman-Alaina Donegan, Haley Schultz-Bailey Miller. Wawasee winners: Ashley Larson-Laura Corell, Jaclyn Miller-Jada Antondies).