Zionsville — Every challenge that has come in front of the Zionsville girls tennis team, they have passed with flying colors.
Saturday, the 11th ranked Eagles faced a strong Zionsville Invite field that featured four other ranked teams, tough weather conditions and ultimately a change to an indoor venue — and still came out on top.
The Eagles won the Invite title 40 points, easily topped second place Center Grove (28 points), and winning three of the five flights.
“The girls played well,” Zionsville head coach Stephanie Reece said. “We knew that there were some tough teams here, but the girls played well. Sophie (Herrman) played well at No. 1, didn’t make a lot of mistakes, Rachel (Mingus) won a tough three-setter against Brebeuf in the opening round, who we are going to see later in the season so that was good. At our No. 1 doubles did well. Everyone getting through the opening round in the main draw made a big difference and that was huge.”
Along with beating the four other ranked teams in the invite, the Eagles have started the season 8-0 in dual matches, beating five other top-30 teams.
Reece said every win she can see the confidence growing.
“The confidence is growing and the nice part is, win or loss, everyone got tested today,” Reece said. “There is a couple of positions that we haven’t lost a match or set in, so they should be confident. Now is the time that we need that, because we are getting into the crunch time of conference and then a few more tough matches before the sectional.”
At No. 1 singles, Herrman topped Evansville Reitz’s Abby Walling 6-1, 6-0 and Mount Vernon’s Lydia Ruegsegger 6-0, 6-1 to reach the final.
Facing Center Grove’s Ellie Strube, Herrman won 6-2, 6-1 in a match more competitive than the score indicates.
“It was a close match, and the Center Grove girl had a long match in the second round too,” Reece said. “Sophie knew that, and was able to use that to her advantage. She is winning matches, and is being tested. She is having to work, which is good, because this is a different scenario than playing in junior tournaments. I think she is enjoying the team aspect, she fits in great with the girls, and she is a big practice component for the doubles too. She has been playing well.”
At No. 3 singles, Mingus survived a tough three-set match with Brebeuf’s Camille Hirschfeld.
Mingus lost the first set 6-1, but won the second 6-1 and then took the super tiebreaker 10-6.
In the second round, she topped Center Grove’s Jillian Garrett 6-4, 6-1 and in the finals topped Evansville Reitz’s Charlotte Walling 6-4, 6-0.
“She has improved her serve a lot from last year and her forecourt game,” Reece said. “She can come in and win at the net and be confident. That is huge, and she played some great net points today.”
At No. 1 doubles, Lauren Campbell and Simryn Kapur topped Holyn Aukerman and Jenna Boha 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 in the opening round, then topped Crown Point’s Becca Ising and Gina Chiarella 6-1, 6-0. In the final, they won by default, when South Bend St. Joe’s had to leave during the weather delay.
At No. 2 singles, Brittany Jones went 2-1 and placed second, defeating Crown Point’s Emily Rhee and Brebeuf’s Caroline Hederick before losing to Center Grove’s Ashlee Fisk.
At No. 2 doubles, the Zionsville team of Sierra Allen and Sophie Regele placed third, going 2-1 on the day.
The Eagles face Guerin at home May 1 before heading to the HCC Championships at Avon over the weekend.
Having beat every HCC team in a dual already this year, Reece knows the target is on her team’s back.
“Today was good, and the girls know we may be the team to beat,” Reece said. “But the girls know the other teams are coming to try and beat us, and we have to find a way to beat these teams again. Coaching wise, having seen the opponents before, I feel like I can do a better job the second time and the girls are good at retaining what they did well. I think they are confident, and will be ready to go.”