Jeeps, Rangers play on after rainy start

Photos by Daniel Vasta/The Herald
Forest Park's Leah Wilmes, right, reacts to having the leaf blower pointed at her by Payton Dilger while drying the courts before Thursday's tennis match in Ferdinand. Both the Jeeps and Rangers worked together to make sure the courts were in playable condition for Thursday's match. The Jeeps defeated the Rangers, 4-1. For more photos from the match, click here.


FERDINAND — Thursday night’s tennis match between county rivals Forest Park and Northeast Dubois didn’t start how either team envisioned.

However, it didn’t have anything to do with how either team was playing. That’s because both teams weren’t able to warm up almost an hour later due to severe wet spots on the courts due to an earlier afternoon thunderstorm.

Both teams grabbed squeegees and leaf blowers to try and help dry off the courts as quick as possible in order to start the match. This delayed start threw off players from both teams just a little bit.

“I think that made me start just a little bit slow,” said Northeast Dubois No. 2 singles player Olivia Rasche. Rasche defeated Forest Park’s Haylie Marks 6-4, 6-0 after falling behind 3-0 to start. The Jeeps won the overall match 4-1. “It kind of changed my mindset a bit — it’s almost like, are we going to play or not? Once I got going, it was just like any other match.”

Forest Park No. 1 singles player Brooke Haug, who lost her match to Northeast Dubois’ Chloe Terwiske 6-0, 6-0, was nearing the end of the school day when she found out that it might be possible the match would be cancelled.

“I was in my PE class in 7th period and (coach) Jen (Lusk) came in and she didn’t think we’d be having the match,” Haugh said. “But then (assistant coach) Tara (Uebelhor) texted us on our group chat and said ‘Get dressed, we’re going to have a game.’ The courts were completely flooded but it was a good bonding experience, I guess — a lot of work, though.”

Northeast Dubois remained perfect on the season with the victory as they’re now 14-0 with just one more match (against Wood Memorial) next Monday. With the win, the Jeeps will secure their third consecutive Blue Chip conference title.

In addition to No. 1 and No. 2 singles, the Jeeps were winners at No. 3 singles with Courtney Vittitow defeating Leah Wilmes 6-4, 6-3 and at No. 2 doubles as Olivia Schroering and Delaney Rasche defeated Forest Park’s Payton Dilger and Emma Grundhoefer 6-0, 6-3. Forest Park’s lone victory came at No. 1 doubles where Molly Lusk and Kaylee Uebelhor defeated Paige Knies and Alexis Stafford 6-4, 6-4.

There’s been a lot growth for several players on both the Jeeps and Rangers (6-9) this season. One of the players that has learned a lot of lessons about herself this season is Olivia Rasche.

After spending a lot of time playing with the doubles teams last year, Rasche moved up to the No. 2 singles position this season. One of the lessons she’s been slowly learning is to always have confidence in her play.

“You just always have to keep your head up and stay positive the entire time. Even if you mess up, just keep going and learn from your mistakes,” Rasche said. “At the beginning of the season, I’d start to get down and then I thought ‘Why even do that at all?’. I’ve just kept my head up and tried to always keep control and play the next point.”

Northeast Dubois' Chloe Terwiske prepares to return the ball during Thursday's tennis match in Ferdinand. Terwiske defeated Forest Park's Brooke Haug at the No. 1 singles position 6-0, 6-0. For more photos from the match, click here.

Haug, who has controlled the No. 1 singles position for Forest Park all season as just a freshman, has learned many lessons throughout the season including just how good her opponents at the top singles position are.

But perhaps the biggest learning curve has been keeping herself calm during pressure situations.

“I really need to control my temper,” Haug said with a laugh. “I’ve just tried to learn how to play with (my opponent) as the match goes. It’s a lot different than junior high tennis, that’s for sure.”

With their regular season all wrapped up after Thursday night’s match, head coach Jen Lusk and the Rangers are hopeful for a strong showing in their sectional.

Even though the Rangers lost to both Southridge and Pike Central, two sectional foes, Lusk believes the Rangers have the ability to make some noise.

“We just have to go into sectional and not be stressed out —we just have to go out and play,” Lusk said. “We’ve had growing pains all season and we’re still growing.”

Northeast Dubois head coach Tina Terwiske realizes the Jeeps have defeated all three of their sectional foes already this season (Barr-Reeve, Loogootee, Paoli).

However, she’s also well aware that those regular season meetings don’t mean much once the postseason starts.

“It doesn’t matter what the season score was, all that matters is what happens next Wednesday and Thursday,” Terwiske said. “As long as we get everyone playing well at the same time, hopefully it will work out in our favor.”

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