TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute South had No. 12 and undefeated Terre Haute North on the ropes with three first-set victories Monday.
With South’s Lauren Hambrock’s powerful strokes leading her to an early lead at No. 1 singles, and the Patriots dictating the action at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, it was clear the match would be decided on the doubles courts.
The Patriots won the match 3-2.
The host Braves’ pairing of Meghan Etling and Bailee Williams took the opening set at No. 2 doubles by a 6-0 margin, and South’s Sofia Saylor and Pam Dorman took their opening set 6-1 at No. 1 doubles.
Saylor and Dorman fought off a strong rally by Caroline Potter and Samantha Dougherty to take the second and decisive set at No. 1 doubles 6-4. After Potter and Dougherty broke Saylor’s serve to make it 5-4, Dorman provided the match-clinching plays with an overhead winner and a backhand that clipped the tape and dropped in front of the Patriots.
North’s Laura Mascari held off Nicole Howe for the 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 3 singles to even the team standings at 2-2. Hambrock had already finished off a 6-1, 6-1 win over freshman Hannah Rudolph at No. 1 singles, and Meredith Egan glided to a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 2 singles.
North sophomore Kyla Jarvis and freshman Molly Farmer were gaining confidence in their second set against Williams and Etling.
Farmer provided a forehand winner from the baseline and Jarvis put away a shot at the net to give the Patriots’ duo a 4-2 edge in the second set. The rangy Farmer put away several more shots to even the match with a 6-2 second-set victory.
“We just tried to stay consistent and positive and that brought us back,” Molly Farmer said.
Jarvis continued to play well at the net, making it 2-0 in the third set for the Patriots. Jarvis hit a cross-court forehand to secure a 4-0 lead.
“The first set we were really tight, nervous,” Jarvis said. “It’s the North-South match, nerves are to be expected. We started playing our game in the second set and continued to play it in the third. We were coming to the net, hitting through our shots.”
South couldn’t bounce back. An Etling double-fault to start the fifth game kept the momentum in North’s favor and the Braves couldn’t recover.
“We jumped on them at first. We still were getting some shots and we just missed them. That’s the first year for those two girls playing varsity, especially for North-South. Kyla Jarvis I thought played very well. We started making mistakes,” Bill Blankenbaker said.
North coach Jeff Farmer was happy to see his girls come through under pressure.
“I think they came out and got caught up in it a little too much. They got caught up in the surroundings [in the first set],” Farmer said. “They really executed well in the second and third sets.”
Blankenbaker was upbeat about his Braves’ performance overall. Dorman and Saylor won for the seventh straight match after losing their first of the season.
“We began to work well as a team and that led us to success,” Saylor said.
“[Dorman] played fantastic. Her and Sofia both,” Blankenbaker said. “Very good points, do everything fundamentally correct. Lauren played fantastic at No. 1 singles. [The Patriots] are very tough at No. 2 and No. 3 so we knew it would be tough.”
Farmer was impressed by the Braves and hopes his players file away knowledge from the match for a potential rematch.
“It was competitive. I know their No. 1 doubles team had been playing well. Coming into the match, we were prepared to face that kind of talent. They showed tonight they’re a formidable No. 1 doubles team. We’ll have to make some adjustments at that position,” Farmer said.
North’s Mascari, the lone senior in the lineup, said the Patriots aren’t going to go overboard in enjoying the win, given the results in sectional action the past two years. This year’s sectional could feature another rematch in just more than two weeks.
“We’ve beat them the past two years [in the regular-season], we’re just hoping to prepare for sectionals and beat them again. It’s a two-year curse [in sectionals]. Hopefully, we can break that,” Mascari said.
Terre Haute North 3, Terre Haute South 2
Singles — Lauren Hambrock (THS) def. Hannah Rudolph 6-1, 6-1; Meredith Egan (THN) def. Shivani Purohit 6-2, 6-1; Laura Mascari (THN) def. Nicole Howe 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles — Sofia Saylor-Pam Dorman (THS) def. Caroline Potter-Samantha Dougherty 6-1, 6-4; Molly Farmer-Kyla Jarvis (THN) def. Meaghan Etling-Bailee Williams 0-6, 6-2, 6-0.
JV — North and South tied 7-7.
Next — Terre Haute North (6-0) plays host to Northview tonight. Terre Haute South (6-2) plays Wednesday at Brebeuf.