INDIANAPOLIS — The Zionsville No. 2 doubles team of senior Katie Thompson and sophomore Claire Mattison has been unstoppable all season, and the Lady Eagles did all they could to keep the team in the hunt for the state championship. Despite also winning the No. 1 doubles match, Zionsville fell to Munster 3-2 in the opening round of the state finals Saturday, May 31, at North Central High School in Indianapolis.

While the fifth-ranked Lady Eagles hardly stumbled through sectionals, regionals, and semi-state, they suffered just their second loss of the season against the second-ranked Lady Mustangs. Zionsville finishes the year with a 21-2 record overall.

“Of (Zionsville and Munster), I think we were the better-skilled team, but on the scoreboard it shows that Munster was,” Zionsville Head Coach Pat Slama said. “It’s a bitter pill.”

Although it was a difficult day for the Zionsville singles players, Thompson and Mattison secured their team’s first point of the day with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Rachael Heiniger and Kamryn Klawitter. The Eagles trailed 3-4 in the first set, but won the next three games for a big momentum shift. It took little time for the No. 2 doubles team to close out the win with a brilliant second set.

“No. 2 doubles (had a) shaky start, but they’re so rock-solid,” Slama said. “We knew they’d pull it out, and with that leadership from Katie Thompson, that was good.”

The No. 1 doubles team of junior Eileen Dinnin and freshman Lindsey Hansen played a much harder-fought match against Munster’s Vanessa Sepiol and Samantha Tantillo, but came away with the 7-5, 6-4 win. Dinnin and Hansen also fell behind in the first set, but stormed back to take the match.

“We told No. 1 doubles that since they were the weak link at semi-state that you girls have to put it on fire,” Slama said. “We practiced last night, and they poached — they did everything they should do. They were phenomenal. They were pumped up, they took over that momentum, they switched it, they changed it, they gelled as a team.”

Senior Danielle Hansen held a 2-1 advantage in the first set of her No. 1 singles match against Mary Hill, but the Mustang charged back to win the set 6-2. Hill then pulled out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, and cruised on to a 6-2 victory.

“We knew Danielle was playing the match of her life against Hill. She’s probably going to be the No. 1 player in the state — she gave it her all,” Slama said.

In No. 2 doubles, senior Margo Harrington struggled in the first set, down 5-2 at one point. She closed the gap to 5-4 before her opponent Christina Lee finished off the set 6-4. Harrington grabbed a 2-1 lead in the second, but Lee eventually tied the set at five games apiece. She then picked up two more wins for the 6-4, 7-5 victory over the Zionsville senior.

With the team match all square at 2-2, it came down to the No. 3 singles match between Zionsville junior Lauren Formulak and Munster’s Kristina Kovacich. The two went back and forth in the first set, as Kovacich prevailed with a 7-5 win. In the second, Formulak dug deep into a 1-5 hole, and Kovacich delivered the knockout blow with a 6-2 win that sent the Lady Mustangs to the state championship match.

“Had we gotten to a third set and been able to salvage that, I think (Formulak) could have pulled it out,” Slama said. “With that 10-minute break and the regrouping, she would have done fine.”

The match was unfortunately marred by poor tennis etiquette in the closing games. With Kovacich on the offensive, her teammates interrupted Formulak’s serves with chants and cheers.

“I’d like to say that our coaching was impeccable compared to what we witnessed from the other side,” Slama said. “(Munster) was loud, they were rude, they were behind my servers at every point doing group cheers. That’s not how you coach high school.”

Munster went on to meet top-ranked Park Tudor, who beat fourth-ranked Jasper in the morning, in the finals match. There the Lady Panthers mauled Munster 4-1 for their fourth state title in-a-row. This was the third straight season that Park Tudor has eliminated Munster in the title match.

While Jasper came into the day undefeated, the Lady Wildcats rode home with two losses. Zionsville won its consolation match over Jasper 3-2, claiming the third spot in the state.

In No. 1 singles, Danielle Hansen took down Maggie Boeckman 6-4, 6-2. In No. 2 singles, Harrington defeated Janel Seng 6-3, 6-3. Formulak dropped her No. 3 singles match to Jasper’s Lydia Schroeder 4-6, 6-4, (10-6).

The No. 1 doubles team of Dinnin and Lindsey Hansen fell to Kasey Land and Stephanie Seger 6-4, 6-4.

The sturdy No. 2 doubles team of Thompson and Mattison were taken three sets against Alexandra Chamberlain and Stephanie Kreilein. They came away with the 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 victory to give Zionsville the win.

“I was very proud to see our three seniors go out winning,” Slama said.

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