TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute South coach Bill Blankenbaker said two weeks ago that he would change the Braves’ lineup after the 3-2 dual-meet loss to Terre Haute North.
The Patriots knew it was coming, but they couldn’t do anything to stop it.
Blankenbaker returned Nicole Howe and Shivani Purohit to doubles and moved Jordan Davis to singles Thursday night as South reversed the regular-season results for a 3-2 victory over North to win the IHSAA girls tennis sectional at North.
“It’s really amazing. We lost [to North] in the regular season and it’s the same as last year and we just came back and did the same exact thing and we get to move on to the regional and keep going, hopefully, after that,” South senior Miranda Camp said while holding the sectional championship trophy.
South advances to the regional at Greencastle on Tuesday.
This two-hour rivalry match was nothing like the 31⁄2-hour marathon match April 29 on the same North courts. In the first meeting, four of the five matches went three sets and included three tie-breakers. In the sectional championship, every match was decided in straight sets.
“Unfortunate swing, but I think South played just a little bit better tonight than we did. [They are] deserving champions,” North coach Jeff Farmer said.
South won at No. 1 singles again, then took both doubles matches. Two weeks ago, North won both doubles and No. 3 singles.
“Actually, they made a couple of adjustments to their lineup since our duel match during the regular season. I think that made a little bit of a difference, not that we weren’t expecting the change, but it came and [affected] a couple of matches that we were able to win in our duel match,” Farmer said.
Blankenbaker reunited Camp and Howe at No. 1 doubles. They went to the state finals together last year. Two weeks ago, Howe played No. 2 singles against North and won. Then the coach moved her back to doubles.
Camp and Howe defeated North’s Olivia Caldwell and Meredith Egan at No. 1 singles 6-4, 6-2.
“Me and Miranda played together last year and we advanced [to the state finals] and I think us as a doubles team was more promising. This seemed like the stronger way to go,” Howe said.
Purohit and Courtney Sheets teamed up to win the No. 2 doubles match for South 6-3, 6-4 over North’s Caroline Potter and Carmen Nickels. Purohit played singles against North two weeks ago.
“You never know what lineup I might use, but I thought I would have this one all along. But I’ve been playing with it all year, so I decided on this match here and I’m glad I did because we needed it like this,” Blankenbaker said.
“Nicole [Howe] had beaten [South’s] No. 2 [single player Laura Mascari], but I think to win the match we needed her at [No. 1] doubles and she was very effective in that. Then we had Shivani at [No. 2] doubles, so that just helps out tremendously when you have that little play in those areas. They’ll play where ever I want them to play for the team, so that makes a big difference.”
Davis was moved from No. 1 doubles to No. two singles. North’s Mascari defeated Davis 7-5, 7-5 in the closest match of the day. North’s second point came from Morgan Cook, who defeated South’s Sofia Saylor 6-0, 7-5 at No. 3 singles.
South’s first point of the afternoon came from No. 1 singles where freshman Lauren Hambrock defeated North’s Anna Potter in straight sets 6-2, 6-1.
“I wasn’t as nervous today [as two weeks ago]. I’ve got a North-South match in. And I’ve gotten better the last couple of weeks. I played some good players in Indianapolis,” Hambrock said.
Blankenbaker isn’t surprised a freshman is South’s No. 1 player.
“Lauren has played a lot of tennis in her life, so I knew what I was getting when she came in [to high school]. I knew she was a great player,” Blankenbaker said.
Terre Haute South 3, Terre Haute North 2
Singles — Lauren Hambrock (THS) def. Anna Potter 6-2, 6-1; Laura Mascari (THN) def. Jordan Davis (THS) 7-5, 7-5; Morgan Cook (THN) def. Sofia Saylor.
Doubles — Nicole Howe-Miranda Camp (THS) def. Olivia Caldwell-Meredith Egan (THN) 6-4, 6-2; Shivani Purohit-Courtney Sheets (THS) def. Caroline Potter-Carmen Nickels (THN) 6-3, 6-4.
Next — South (10-5) will play in the regional at Greencastle on Tuesday. North finished its season 9-8.