Cathedral overpowers Cats in state semifinal

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

Bandaru
Monesmith

INDIANAPOLIS — All good things must come to an end, and Saturday proved to be the end of the road for the Jasper girls tennis team. The Wildcats rode a thrilling season’s worth of matches all the way to North Central High School before falling to the Indianapolis Cathedral Fighting Irish 4-1 in the semifinal round of the state finals (Carmel would defeat the Irish in the final round 3-2 to win back-to-back state titles).

It was the team’s fourth straight appearance in the state tournament, and coach Scott Yarbrough couldn’t be happier about how his girls performed. For him, it was simply a matter of Cathedral being the better team the morning the Wildcats faced them.

“Anytime you win a match and get closer to that state final, the competition steps up,” he said. “Cathedral is known for having good tennis teams. Today Cathedral was a little bit better. I don’t think it was anything we did wrong. We battled as long as we can as hard as we can but sometimes better is better, and I think they’re a little better than we are.”

Cathedral’s number one tennis player Maeve Koscielski defeated Jasper’s Sarah Monesmith 6-1, 6-1. Ellie Pittman defeated Suchi Badaru 6-1, 6-0. Meg Coleman and Claire Koscielski overcame Caroline Theil and Olivia Yarbrough 6-1, 6-1. And Cassie Kronenberger and Bella Montefalco bested Maggie Getzin and Aubrey Williams 6-1, 6-2. Josie Yarbrough was able to get the lone win for Jasper by beating Cole Spau 6-0, 6-1.

“We know how (Spau) did in the round before, she lost to Center Grove’s three player,” said Yarbrough. “I wanted to play consistent, let her make the errors, and be aggressive when we had the chance.”

But while Yarbrough could be happy for her individual match, she wished she could have shared the joy with her teammates and moved on to the final round of the tournament. In spite of that however, she said the season’s run has been amazing and said it was exhilarating to be on the court and contributing to the Jasper girl’s fourth consecutive state appearance.

“I’ve been a part of this forever, and I was so excited watching it (growing up),” she said. “But when you’re in it with the team, it’s beyond words. This ride was amazing and I just can’t put it into words.”

For Monesmith, this would be the last time for her going out and swinging the racket for Jasper. She’ll move on to play tennis at Butler University next year, but she will always fondly remember her time with the Wildcats and the growth she experienced after putting four years into the tennis program.

“It was a really amazing ride. I’ve met some of my best friends through the Jasper tennis program,” she said. “We have a super close team this year, and we’re all each other’s besties. It’s sad that the season is over, but ending at the state (tourney) is the best way it could end. I’m so grateful for this program, it’s absolutely amazing.”

Jasper will be seeing the departure of five seniors from the varsity lineup as the team looks toward next year, but the coaches and girls that remain are confident that the Wildcats will be looking to reload instead of rebuild next season.

The girls on the junior varsity team accompanied the varsity girls throughout the run to states and Yarbrough believes that having them see the amount of work and effort that is needed to play high school tennis at its highest will motivate them to work on their own games during the offseason and give them a set of goals to reach for as they work to maximize their talents and skills to the best of their abilities.

“You got to be on the court and play more competitive matches,” said Yarbrough when talking about the underclassmen stepping up to fill in the holes for next season. “We’re there when the kids want us to be there. They’re the ones that have to put in the time.”

“Next year there’s going to be a lot of underclassmen,” added Suchi Bandaru. “Hopefully they saw this and see how much hard work we need to put in to come back next year.”




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