Local players win individual titles, advance to regional

Photos by Daniel Vasta/The Herald
Jasper's Suchi Bandaru (left) and Josie Yarbrough celebrate a point during Saturday's individual sectional tennis tournament at Jasper. The Wildcats' No. 1 doubles tandem was victorious over Barr-Reeve’s Kadee Claridge and Kaitlyn Mincey 6-0, 6-1 to advance to the regional round. For more photos from the tournament, click here.

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

JASPER — For most of the area’s tennis players the season has reached its conclusion. Some players ended the spring as sectional champions, others will take the offseason to examine their game and work toward next year’s title.

But for a select few, the weekend marked the continuation of their postseason run.

Northeast Dubois No. 1 singles player Chloe Terwiske along with Japer’s top doubles duo Suchi Bandaru and Josie Yarbrough overcame their respective competition during Saturday’s sectional championship round of the individual state tournament to win personal titles and cemented their place in next weekend’s regional tournament. Terwiske defeated Bloomington North’s Kylee Shelton 6-1, 6-3 while Bandaru and Yarbrough swept Barr-Reeve’s Kadee Claridge and Kaitlyn Mincey 6-0, 6-1.

“I felt a lot better about this match than my previous two matches,” said Terwiske. “I know the second set of the other two I came out pretty slow, kind of fell apart and got out of some games. This one I came out with the same momentum from the first set and just kept playing. Got a little close there for about two or three games, but in the end I pulled through.”

“We just wanted to get out, be excited and play the best that we can,” said Bandaru.

“And get going early in the beginning," Yarbrough added. "That’s something we want to do each time, have a good lead in the beginning so you build on that confidence."

Terwiske added on to what has been a stellar junior year on the tennis courts. She not only helped lead the Northeast Dubois Jeeps to an unblemished regular season record on the way to their first sectional title in six years, but Terwiske has also maintained a sterling personal record in posting 22 victories and no defeats during the spring. This trip back to regional is her second in as many seasons as an individual.

Terwiske said that playing aggressive at the net was a big key to her success on Saturday. Chasing her serve allowed her to use shorter strokes to return fire back at Shelton and catch her out of position for the point.

“The part that worked best for me was definitely the moving forward on balls. I caught her standing deep a lot of times in the court, so moving around with hard, short balls kind of helped me get to the net to finish that next volley,” she said. “I definitely had to play some defense at times, but it never hurt anybody to do that. Her serve was pretty big when it was in, that got her a couple games. I just have to remember to stay up on mine.”

Bandaru and Yarbrough boasted their own impressive record going into their doubles sectional championship match.

The duo posted a 10-1 record in the regular season and went streaking to the tune of 5-0 during tournament play. Having that much time to play and win together has allowed both girls to learn where they need to be on the court in order to maximize their chances of success during a given match. On Saturday, the recipe called for Bandaru to hold down the back line while Yarbrough patrolled the net as they went on to produce yet another victory in their title match.

“Suchi is more baseline and I’m more at the net,” said Yarbrough. “When Suchi gets a really good stroke, I’ll go over and take the ball at the net. We work better when she’s at the baseline and I’m at the net.”

Northeast Dubois' Chloe Terwiske returns the ball during Saturday's individual tennis sectional tournament in Jasper. Terwiske advanced to the regional by defeating Bloomington North’s Kylee Shelton 6-1, 6-3. For more photos from the tournament, click here.

Both Northeast Dubois and Jasper won sectional titles this season, but they also both fell to Washington in the regional round of the team tournament.

While all three girls wish they could be moving on in the postseason with their teams, they consider it a privilege to still represent for their schools as they look to keep their individual streaks alive and demonstrate the pride and winning tradition that is present in their communities.

“It feels great to continue the winning tradition here,” said Terwiske. “I’ve been getting a lot of texts from community members saying ‘Congratulations’, ‘I’m proud of you’ and that sort of thing. To be able to come out here in the postseason and represent my school, I just want to do my greatest for my community.”

“We just want to do the best that we can and keep advancing as far as we can,” said Bandaru.

“And continue on for our team even though our team did lose regionals,” added Yarbrough. “We still represent Jasper and represent that team that was playing. It is an individual (tournament), but we’re still part of that team.”




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