Jasper duo confident heading into state semifinals

Herald File Photo by Daniel Vasta
Jasper's Suchi Bandaru (left) and Josie Yarbrough advanced to the IHSAA Girls Tennis Individual State Tournament semifinal round with a 6-3, 6-1 victory today over Franklin Central's Brooklyn Schiffli and Carly Sobieralski. The Jasper duo will face off against Carmel's Lauren Littell and Leila Antony in this morning's semifinal round. The Greyhound duo was victorious 6-2, 6-0 in an earlier meeting between the two teams at the Carmel Invitational.

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

Playing a new opponent can always have a mix of advantages and disadvantages.

That’s the way the Jasper No. 1 doubles duo of Suchi Bandaru and Josie Yarbrough felt going into their quarterfinal match against Franklin Central’s Brooklyn Schiffli and Carly Sobieralski at the IHSAA Girls Tennis Individual State Tournament at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis.

After a little bit of stress and some weather conditions got in their way early, the Jasper duo settled down and recorded a 6-3, 6-1 victory to advance to today’s semifinal round. Yarbrough and Bandaru are now 23-1 overall on the season at the position.

“We had a little bit of nerves going in but once we started playing on the court, I think we played through things well,” Bandaru said. “We did a good job of getting the points we needed to.”

Something that started to throw off the pair early was a heavy wind that they just weren’t used to.

“We really haven’t played in much wind in a long time, it just hasn’t been that windy in Jasper this year,” Yarbrough said. “But once we started to get adjusted to where the wind was blowing and when, it went pretty well after that.”

Overall, the Jasper duo played with a strong determination and willpower to advance to the semifinal round of the state tournament.

Yarbrough believed one of the Cats’ biggest strengths on Friday afternoon at Park Tudor was what Bandaru allowed the pair to create whenever she was at the baseline and Yarbrough went to the net.

“Suchi is really good at rallying the ball and she’s really at getting hard shots back while being aggressive,” Yarbrough said. “Once she does that, I’m better at attacking the ball and seeing it. It allowed me to poach and we did that a lot today, we were pretty successful with that and a lot of our wins came from it.”

With the victory, Bandaru and Yarbrough advance to this morning’s semifinals where they’ll face Carmel’s Lauren Littell and Leila Antony — a pair that sport a perfect 18-0 record on the season.

This won’t be the first time the Cats doubles tandem has faced the Carmel pair this season. Littell and Antony defeated Bandaru and Yarbrough 6-2, 6-0 earlier this season at the Carmel Invitational.

However, that was an indoor match and today’s battle will likely be outdoor as long as weather permits. The Cats are hoping to use what they learned from the first match the second time around.

“The first time we played them we practically knew nothing about them,” Yarbrough said. “But now we remember how they played and what kind of shots they like to take. We’ve been practicing how they hit and what we can counter it with — I think we can use that to our advantage.”

The Cats know they’ll have to work hard and get off to a quick start in order to come away with a victory this morning.

The Jasper duo believes that after a strong week of practice and a solid opening match, they should be well-prepared for today’s battle.

“We have to make sure our feet are moving right away and we have to get the nerves out of the way,” Bandaru said. “If we play the tennis we’ve been practicing all week then we’ll be okay.”

Yarbrough added: “We can’t be fearful or have any doubt ­— we just have to go out there, take our chances and hope they pay off.”




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