By Josh Brown
TROY — Coming into the Division II sectional tennis tournament, Milton-Union, Tippecanoe and Lehman all boasted seeded players.
And — so far — all of those seeds have held.
Milton-Union’s Meredith Fitch and Hannah Fugate and Tippecanoe’s Amelia Zweizig and Mira Patel both swept their way into next week’s district tournament in doubles — with Lehman’s Sarah Gibson and Angela Brunner still needing to finish their quarterfinal match — while Milton-Union’s Taylor Falb was the lone local qualifier in the singles bracket as they all reached the D-II sectional semifinal round after the opening day of the tournament Tuesday at Troy High School and Troy Community Park.
For Falb, a freshman at Milton-Union and the No. 4 seed in the singles bracket, qualifying for district meant a little payback, too.
Falb defeated Bellefontaine’s Mia Neer 6-0, 6-0 to earn a shot at Tippecanoe’s Dakota Schroeder — who had swept Dixie’s Alexandria Allen 6-0, 6-0 in her first match — in the third round. When the two teams played during the regular season back on Aug. 22, Schroeder had defeated Falb in straight sets to help the Red Devils claim a 3-2 win.
This time, Falb controlled the match from the start, winning 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinal round and leave her needing only one more win to punch her district ticket. She faced Eaton’s Tess Murphy, and both players battled through a tough first set before Falb won it 7-5 to claim the momentum, and she finished off the match by cruising from there 6-1 in the second set. She will face the top seed, Eaton’s Sophia Murphy, in the sectional semis to begin play Saturday.
The seeds in the doubles bracket had a comparatively easier time.
Milton-Union’s Fitch and Fugate, the Bulldogs’ first and third singles players during the regular season and the tournament’s No. 1 seed, only dropped two games on the day, defeating Kenton Ridge’s Brown and Bonvillain 6-1, 6-0 and Eaton’s Kramer and Wilkinson 6-1, 6-0 to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
Their opponent, though, is still up in the air. Lehman’s Sarah Gibson and Angela Brunner, the No. 4 seed, were unable to finish their quarterfinal match on Tuesday. The Cavaliers’ second and third singles players during the regular season, the duo defeated Tippecanoe’s Claire Wint and Camillah Jones 6-0, 6-4. After that, they faced Northwestern’s Dotson and Smith in the quarters and won the first set 6-3 before rain caused the match to be moved indoors to Schroeder’s Tennis Center. Northwestern won the second set 6-4, though, and the teams ran out of time to get the match finished there. The match will be resumed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night at Schroeder’s.
And on the other half of the bracket, Tippecanoe’s Amelia Zweizig and Mira Patel — the Devils’ first and third singles players during the regular season and the No. 2 seed — also only dropped two games the entire day in the process of advancing to the district tournament. They defeated Dixie’s Felt and Baker 6-1, 6-0 and Northwestern’s Tanner and Swensen 6-1, 6-0 to reach Saturday’s semis. There, they will face Eaton’s unseeded team of Bell and Ward, who knocked off Kenton Ridge’s third-seeded team of Holbrook and Hefner in the quarters.
Also for Milton-Union, the doubles team of Emma Lehman and Madison Silveira lost to Eaton’s Bell and Ward 6-0, 6-0. And in singles, Paige Barnes lost to Tippecanoe’s Rainey Messinger 6-0, 6-0 and Amelia Black lost to Tippecanoe’s Annie Livesay 6-0, 6-1.
For Tippecanoe, Messinger defeated Milton-Union’s Barnes then lost to Greenon’s Shelby McHenry 6-4, 6-3, while Livesay defeated Milton-Union’s Black and then lost to Kenton Ridge’s Macy Wallace, the No. 2 seed, 6-4, 6-1. And the all-senior doubles team of Wint and Jones defeated Dixie’s Pedrotti and Ruppert in a three-setter, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 before falling to Lehman’s Gibson and Brunner.
For Lehman, the doubles team of Ann Pannaparra and Keira Burns defeated Urbana’s Dunn and Packer 6-2, 6-2, then lost to the No. 3 seed, Kenton Ridge’s Holbrook and Hefner, 6-0, 6-4. And in singles, Claire Larger defeated Urbana’s Rachel White 6-0, 6-0 and Brookville’s Emma Burton 6-2, 6-0 before falling to Kenton Ridge’s Wallace 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Shannon Staley was defeated by Bellefontaine’s Sierra Bensman 6-1, 6-2, and Brieanna Werling was defeated by Bellefontaine’s Neer, 6-3, 6-3.
The sectional semifinals begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Troy Community Park.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.