Sectional semifinal action was played on Thursday at Shelbyville with the Lady Golden Bears and the Triton Central Lady Tigers advancing to the sectional championship (Friday, 5 p.m.). TC defeated Morristown, 5-0, while the Golden Bears edged Waldron, 3-2, to advance.
The Tigers won four of five courts in straight sets led by Brooklyn Schiffli at one singles with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Emma Theobald. Julia Sanders also scored a dominant victory over Beth Hodgin, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 2 singles. The closest court of the Triton Central-Morristown match happened at three singles with Lelia Chougule edging Morristown’s Aubrea Trattner 6-2, 1-6, 1-0 (10-2) in a third-set super tiebreaker.
The TC doubles team of Ainsley Denton and Kelsey McGuire defeated Ryeland Brewer and Sarah Essex 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1. Alyssa Wheatley and Emma Hutchinson completed the sweep with a 6-0, 6-0 win over McKinley Kile and Brianna Batton at No. 2 doubles.
The Mohawks came into the match against the Golden Bears at a disadvantage. Senior Keira Zeigler, who plays both softball and tennis for Waldron, suffered an injury earlier in the week that knocked her out of sectional competition. With a squad of only six players, Waldron coach Chelsea Platt had to reassign some positions and forfeit three singles for the match. Amanda Brinson, also a softball player in addition to tennis, transitioned from three singles over to two doubles, teaming up with Josee Larrison for the first time this season.
The first win of the night came from Shelbyville’s Gabbie Knox at number one singles. Knox came out strong to take control of the match early and rolled on to a 6-2, 6-2 win over senior Caroline Sheaffer, who has been a varsity starter for Waldron throughout her high school career. Always a formidable opponent, Sheaffer has been an integral part of building the current tennis atmosphere for Waldron.
Joining Knox in the win column for SHS was Jaidyn Tackett at number two singles. Tackett faced Nichole Garner in their match, enduring long points and well-placed shots by each player. Both Tackett and Garner are three-sport athletes and both displayed quick foot work to reach hard-to-get shots throughout their match. In the end, Tackett took home the victory, 6-2, 6-3.
In doubles play, Shelbyville’s Adeline Haacker and Emma Sandman had a big assignment, standing across the net from Waldron’s Mackenzie Shaw and Megan Bogemann, who came into the match undefeated for 2021. Haacker and Sandman pushed the first set to 7-5 before losing momentum in the second set. Waldron’s chemistry and experience came together in the second set with a 6-1 win to clinch the victory.
The match of the night was on the second doubles court. Shelbyville’s Karlie Lawson and Renee Aldridge have stepped up their game in the past few weeks. They gave Brinson and Larrison a fight throughout the match. Lawson and Aldridge narrowly missed winning the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6, and rebounded to win the second set, 7-5. IHSAA Sectional play does not require a full third set outside of number one singles and doubles, so the match moved into a super tiebreaker to determine the winner.
Brinson and Larrison came out strong, getting an early advantage. Their chemistry became stronger as the match progressed and they displayed more confidence late, picking up the final set with a 10-4 tiebreaker win for Waldron.
Although WHS lost the match as a team, Shaw and Bogemann will advance to Center Grove next week for the individual portion of the state tournament. Play is set to resume for the doubles team on Tuesday.
Triton Central moved into the championship round undefeated on the year at 15-0. Schiffli also moved to the championship round undefeated.
SHS is now 11-9 on the season.