Cats slice their way to fourth straight state finals

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
The Jasper High School girls tennis team celebrated their semistate win over Columbus North in Jasper on Saturday. The Wildcats defeated the Bulldogs 4-1 to clinch their fourth consecutive trip to the state finals. For more photos from the match, click here.

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

JASPER — Jasper girls tennis coach Scott Yarbrough was juking left and slicing to the right all over the courts at the Ed Yarbrough Tennis Complex following Saturday’s semistate match against Columbus North.

While it may have looked like Yarbrough was showcasing some moves for the scouts at the NFL Draft Combine, he was actually just trying to get away from senior Maggie Getzin who made many attempts (and succeeded at several) to douse the Wildcat head coach with water from her thermos following the Cats 4-1 victory in the semistate match which clinched their fourth consecutive state finals berth.

“We’re just trying to go out there and play the best tennis that we possibly can and have a little fun along the way,” senior No. 1 singles player Sarah Monesmith said. Monesmith was victorious 6-2, 6-4 over Yijiang Zhao and will now be playing in her fourth consecutive state finals match, one of only two Jasper girls tennis players to do so joining fellow senior Olivia Yarbrough.

Five of the seven players who will be participating in the state finals for the Wildcats (17-4) next weekend are seniors — Monesmith, Caroline Theil & Olivia Yarbrough (lost at No. 1 doubles to Madelyn Sanders & Eva Chevalier who finished the season undefeated, 6-3, 6-4) and Maggie Getzin & Aubrey Williams (victorious at No. 2 doubles over Ali Bergman & Servane Cloteaux 6-3, 6-1).

From graduating on Friday night to clinching a state finals berth on Saturday afternoon, the seniors have had a whirlwind of a week. In fact, Getzin said that none of the reality of graduating or advancing to her first career state finals has really sunk in just yet.

“It kind of feels like I’m living a dream,” Getzin said. “When you graduate but you still have a part of your high school going along with you, it kind of makes me still feel like I’m not graduating yet and that I’m still in high school. This has been a pretty great weekend.”

While the three singles positions and the No. 1 doubles spot stayed pretty consistent throughout most of the season for Jasper, the No. 2 doubles tandem saw a lot of mixing and matching throughout the season.

Toward the end of the season, the combo of Getzin and Williams started to really emerge as the frontrunner of who Yarbrough would use for the postseason matches. What’s made the combination work so well?

“We’ve been friends forever so I think that chemistry has really just helped us through,” Williams said. “Whenever I started to play with Maggie, I just had a feeling she would stay my partner and I’m glad it worked out this way.”

Getzin added, “I had a rough start to the season but once I started to play with Aubrey, it instantly clicked — it was kind of like we belonged together.”

While the “belonging together” part made Williams chuckle in the background, both of them have improved their play as they’ve spent more time together on the court as a doubles tandem.

Yarbrough admits that junior Hadley Meyer made the decision to roll with Getzin & Williams a tough one and called Meyer ‘one of the most improved players’ on the Cats roster but in the end, the decision came down to two seniors that seemed to be a natural fit playing together.

Jasper’s Sarah Monesmith cheered after winning a point in her No. 1 semistate singles match against Columbus North in Jasper on Saturday. Monesmith was victorious 6-2, 6-4 and joins fellow senior Olivia Yarbrough as the first two girls tennis players in Jasper history to play in four consecutive state finals. For more photos from the match, click here.

“They’ve got their serves in, they’ve got their returns in and they’ve played with a level of excitement which is something that I don’t think we had a lot of last week (at the regional),”, Yarbrough said. “I think they’ve done a good job of just riding their momentum and it was fun to watch and for two girls that had never played on the varsity team until this year, it makes it that much more sweeter for them.”

What’s sweet for everyone on the Wildcat squad is a fourth straight state finals appearance — a rare feat in any high school, college or professional sport.

While the Wildcats have had a balance of young and old help carry them to this point (sophomore Suchi Bandaru was victorious at the No. 2 singles spot 6-3, 6-0 and freshman Josie Yarbrough won at the No. 3 singles position 6-0, 6-0), the upperclassmen have acted as the leaders for a group that has seemed to find just the right mix.

“Because we’ve been all playing so long together, we kind of help bring the team together,” Getzin said about the seniors’ leadership roles. “Without our seniors, I don’t know if we’d be going to a state finals right now — (The seniors) have kind of been the glue. Even though tennis seems like an individual sport, mentally it’s a team sport the people by your side help you to go further.”

Monesmith added, “Us seniors have grown up playing together since we were about four years old so to grow up through this program and become friends along the way has just been the most amazing experience. To share the state finals with them for the fourth straight time is just the most amazing thing.”

Jasper will face Delta (18-3) in the first round of the state finals on Friday at 3 p.m. at Carmel High School and are hoping to bounce back after being defeated by South Bend St. Joseph in the first round of the tournament last year.

But no matter what happens this week, it’ll be the seniors final time playing tennis for the Jasper Wildcat program so they’re hoping to have as much as fun as they can and live it up one final time.

“We know that no matter what happens this will be our last week of tennis so we have to go out there and give it our all,” Getzin said.

Yarbrough added, “A couple of years ago the girls were kind of taking it on the chin because the boys had gone to state four years in a row. So they kind of said ‘Hey, if the boys can do it..” and now, it’s their turn.”




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