MUNSTER | For Times No. 1 Munster, the victory was bittersweet.
Facing Times No. 2 Highland, the Mustangs won 4-1 behind three points from the singles positions. The victory avenged two straight losses to the Trojans in the regional.
The bittersweet taste came from the fact that Highland changed its lineup for the postseason. No 1 singles player Vani Madrigal was paired with her twin sister Aby at No. 1 doubles for the postseason. Then Meredith Garcia, who was slotted to play No. 1 singles, left the team last week.
“We weren’t playing their strongest team,” Munster coach Bill Heuer said. “The truth is we would have preferred to play them at their full strength. But we came out and won today, which is what we needed to do.”
Highland coach Adam Baez paired the Madrigal sisters at No. 1 doubles to increase their chances of making it downstate.
“That move gives Highland the best chance of having someone represent the school in Indianapolis,” Baez said, “so that’s what I decided to do.”
The Madrigal sisters garnered the only point for Highland with a 6-1, 6-1 win.
“All of the girls played really well today, considering the last minute switch at singles,” Baez said. “They did a great job of competing.”
Jessica Rooth grabbed the first point for the Mustangs with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Nikki Goodeve.
“We wanted to come out and have a strong showing against Highland,” Rooth said. “As a team, we didn’t like the way the season ended the last two years. So we wanted to play tough today and keep our season going.”
Griffith (4-12) won for the third time this week with a 3-2 win against Gavit (2-10).
The Panthers earned the right to take on the Mustangs (17-1) when Michelle Urena won 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 singles.
“We feel really good about the winning streak we put together this week,” Urena said. “We cut down a lot on our unforced errors and kept putting the ball back in play. For me, I was having a lot of success getting my back hand shots in.”
Griffith has the unenviable task of facing the No. 8 team in the state in the sectional final. Coach Tracy Sines took a humorous perspective.
“We have won as many matches this week (three) as Munster has,” Sines said. “So why not us?”
The Mustangs have won 35 consecutive sectional titles.