Cats capture sectional crownMay 20, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
JASPER — Amidst the uncertainty of this unprecedented athletic season, the Jasper (15-3) girls tennis team established itself as a pillar of consistency. The Wildcats captured their 31st consecutive title with a 5-0 win over local opponent Southridge (14-10) on Thursday.
“A lot of kids have put in a lot of time into this sport,” Jasper head coach Scott Yarbrough said. “We have other kids in other sports that do the same thing, but I’m just really happy for them. They get a chance to celebrate and do it on our own courts. I thought we did it in a very good fashion. It was just good, clean tennis.”
The Cats recorded two-set victories in each of their matches. Japer senior Josie Yarbrough earned a 6-0, 6-1 win over Southridge junior Olivia Durcholz at one singles. After the match, Josie reflected upon the meaning of Jasper’s team victory.
“I think we’re just happy to be where we are right now,” she said. “We’re hoping to go forward and keep succeeding. We’ll see where we can go.”
A pair of Jasper sophomores clinched two key wins in the other singles matches. Allison Schnarr claimed a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Raiders junior Olivia Lopez at two singles, while Ally Wigand tallied another 6-0, 6-0 win against Southridge senior Abby Kerkhoff at three singles.
Jasper sophomore Brailyn Whaley and junior Delaney Wigand added a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Southridge juniors Jordan Biehl and Kelby LaRoche at one doubles. The Cats showcased a different two doubles lineup for the championship, as freshman Paige Giesler and sophomore Brynne Brosmer collected a 6-1, 6-1 win over Southridge’s tandem of junior Emily Roby and senior Gabbie Werner.
“We’ve got some girls ready to go,” Scott said. “That’s the best part about having more than just seven. We probably go 10, 11 deep where I would feel comfortable putting them in the lineup.”
Southridge head coach Paul Kinker tipped his cap to the Cats after the match.
“They know how to play the game,” Kinker said. “They can strategize. They hit pretty powerful shots, but our girls kept up.”
Jasper’s move to the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference limited their chances to face local opponents during the regular season. The Cats had not played either of their sectional foes prior to the tournament, but they adapted to the postseason environment.
“Sometimes, that’s a little bit of a disadvantage,” Scott said. “But, we’ll look at scores and make some comparisons. I thought we did a nice job of playing a team last night and a team tonight that we hadn’t played before. It was good.”
Southridge loses two key contributors in Kerkhoff and Werner, but the Raiders’ future is promising. According to Kinker, at least 22 players will return to Southridge’s program next season.
“We should have a very, very strong season next year,” Kinker said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Jasper resumes play against Loogootee during Tuesday’s opening-round Regional 7 match in Jasper. The Lions defeated Barr-Reeve in the Sectional 26 championship match.
“I’m just really confident in us,” Josie said. “I think we can pull this off. Hopefully, we’ll be able to go through regionals with some confidence and be able to succeed.”
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