Jeeps experience déjà vu in win over Lions

Photos by Daniel Vasta/The Herald
Northeast Dubois' No. 1 doubles tandem of Alexis Stafford, left, and Paige Knies shake hands with their opponents after Wednesday's tennis sectional semifinal in Loogootee. The Jeeps defeated the Lions 3-2 in a match that shared many similarities with the first meeting between these two Blue Chip conference rivals earlier in the season. For more photos from the match, click here.


LOOGOOTEE — The Northeast Dubois girls tennis team experienced a bit of déjà vu to start this year’s postseason run.

The last time the Jeeps saw Loogootee was a little bit over a month ago when they faced the Lions in their second match of season. But a good bit of time and tennis has passed between then and Wednesday evening when the Jeeps opened sectional play against the Lions, and it would not be unreasonable to think the matches wouldn’t be mirror images of each other just because the opponents are familiar.

But wouldn’t you know it, lightning did in fact strike twice as the Jeeps not only walked away with another 3-2 win over the Lions, but they also won out in the exact same spots they were victorious from when the two teams clashed back in April. Junior Chloe Terwiske defeated Melania Tippery 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 1 singles match. No. 1 doubles tandem Paige Knies and Alexis Stafford defeated Kashten Burch and Leonna Hedrick 7-6(3), 6-3, while the No. 2 pairing of Delaney Rasche and Olivia Schroering took down Brittney Potts and Madison Wade 6-2, 6-4.

Jeep head coach Tina Terwiske could see some of her players working through early sectional round nerves possibly on the lookout for upset potential, which the team has experienced before. But the girls were able to focus in and got the necessary points to advance to the sectional final.

“Chloe came out very confident, took the lead, and played really well,” she said. “ One and two doubles were closer in this round than they were in the regular season, so I’m hoping that’s some tournament time jitters and they come out a little more confident tomorrow night.”

Chloe Terwiske said that facing the Lions was a bit of an intimidating prospect when they met for the second match of the spring, but the experience that came with beating them earlier helped give her confidence going into her match. However, she felt that the possibility of getting a revenge win on Wednesday did motivate the No. 2 and 3 singles players to come out and swing the racket with some added pep.

“The matches we lost were the same here, but I think Oliva Rasche and Courtney Vittitow came out with a little extra vengeance,” she said. “They wanted to get that match back because they were so close, they both split sets in the regular season. I think that helped with them stepping up to play.”

Northeast Dubois' head coach head coach Tina Terwiske, left, speaks to Olivia Rasche between points during Wednesday's tennis sectional semifinal in Loogootee. For more photos from the match, click here.

Knies and Stafford said the key to their success was effectively communicating with each other so they could get maximum court coverage and point opportunities throughout their match. Of course the prior meeting helped prepare them, but it was also personally gratifying to have a match like this to see how far both of them had grown as tennis players since the start of the season.

“The first time we played them it was really early in the season, so it was really nice to come back out after we’ve all gotten better,” said Stafford.

“And because we played them we knew their strengths and weaknesses,” added Knies. “We had a little bit of an idea of what to expect more so than the beginning of the season.”

Now the Jeeps will look towards playing Barr-Reeve in the final after the Vikings made it past Paoli 3-2 last night. The Vikings defeated the Jeeps 3-2 in last season’s tournament, but Tina Terwiske has coached the girls to only focus on what they can control and what they need to do to send the ball right back across the net, no matter the opponent.

It’s an approach that has worked so far and she doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.

“This whole season we’ve been focused on us and the ball,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net. The girls have kept that focus and you can see that with our result at this point. That’s what it’s going to be for (tonight) as well.”

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