LAPORTE | Munster girls tennis team's postseason run came to an end Saturday when No. 2 Carmel defeated the No. 8 Mustangs 4-1 at the LaPorte semistate.
“Carmel is a very good team, and very worthy of the No. 2 ranking in the state,” Munster coach Bill Heuer said after the match. “They played an exceptional match today.”
The Greyhounds (16-0), defending state champs, raced past the Mustangs at all three singles positions and at No. 1 doubles in straight sets.
At No. 1 singles, Bailey Padgett defeated Jessica Rooth 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
“Really no excuse for how I played the first set,” Rooth said afterwards. “I was very impatient and didn’t set my shots up well at all. I was able to collect myself and play much better in the second set. I’ll use that to build on for next year.”
Rooth led 2-1 early in the first set before Padgett reeled off five straight points to close it out. In the second set, Rooth came back from deficits three times to send the match to tie-breaker.
The only point won by Munster came from No. 2 doubles, where Erica Tritsch and Marianna Rogers defeated Hannah Elliott and Michelle Li 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
“We were nervous during the first set,” Rogers said. “We settled down after the first one and played our type of game the next two sets. We put everything we had into it because we knew it was the end of the year.”
Tritsch said both girls wanted to go out as hard as they could.
“It’s a long offseason, and we wanted to make sure we gave it everything we had to finish,” Tritsch said. “I think we were able to channel our nervousness into focus better as the match went on.”
Heuer felt that the whole team gave a great effort.
“We knew coming in we would have to play near-perfect tennis to win,” Heuer said. “We fell short, but I think everyone finished the season on a strong note by giving a great battle. It was a testament to where we are as a team.”
The Mustangs (20-2) will return five varsity players next year, providing a strong core.
First-year assistant coach Dave Cafmeyer was impressed with what he saw from the Mustangs during the course of the year.
“These girls are very exceptional people,” Cafmeyer said. “They are very talented on the tennis court, yes, but they are also very special people off the court. At the awards banquet last week, these girls received significant scholarship money for their academics and social work. They are really great kids.”
Cafmeyer also told the Times that he will be coaching the boys’ team at Lake Central next fall.
“I am excited to be working with such a talented group,” Cafmeyer said. “The Duneland is a tough conference, and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
In the other semistate match, Penn defeated Culver Academy 5-0. Both Penn and Carmel advance to the state finals next week in Indianapolis.