BLOOMINGTON — Just when it seemed that the Columbus North girls tennis team was taking a firm grasp on Tuesday’s Bloomington South Regional semifinal match against Seymour, the Owls mounted a rally.
But while Seymour make it interesting, the Bull Dogs eventually prevailed 3-2 in a thriller to advance to today’s regional title match against Bloomington South. The Panthers downed Greensburg 5-0 in the other semifinal match.
“It was a very exciting and entertaining match to watch,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “I have been telling people all year long that Seymour is a very good team. I made sure we did not look past this match. We struggled a bit today but we got (to the regional finals).”
North picked up two very early victories as Aubrey Smith won against Seymour’s Julia Adam 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles. North’s Paige Littrell defeated Seymour’s Malerie Brewer 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles.
The Bull Dogs needed just one more win to advance.
But Seymour rallied to post a win at No. 1 doubles where Emma Wood and Karen Dringenburg defeated North’s Meagan Olibo and Madelyn Sanders 6-3, 6-2.
With the two deciding matches being played at the same time, North secured the team victory when Rosemary Yonushonis defeated Seymour’s Kennedy Richart in three sets 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 at No. 3 singles.
“It was crunch time, and I really had to stay motivated in order to pull through,” Yonushonis said. “We all really wanted to win it this year because we have worked so hard to get to this point and we have all shown so much improvement.”
Hammel said he had the perfect player in just the right spot.
“If there is anyone I could have in that No. 3 singles spot in that big of a situation, it would be Rosemary,” Hammel said.
Hammel knew Yonushonis was going to battle.
“I felt where Rosemary got into trouble was that she kept coming to the net too much where Kennedy was hitting it over her head,” Hammel said. “I wanted her to start working points at the baseline more and attack only when she needed to.”
Seymour co-coach Nathan Otte said the Owls gave a terrific effort.
“Rosemary proved to be a very tough opponent for Kennedy,” Otte said. “But it was good to see her keep fighting because she is a senior. She was never going to quit.”
The final three-set match was completed after North clinched the match. It came at No. 2 doubles where Seymour’s Megan Baurle and Lindsey Hume prevailed over North’s Brooke Richardson and Yijiang Zhao 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
“I believe my No. 2 doubles lost their momentum at the start of the first set and could not regain it,” Otte said. “They were able to get it back in the second set, and I was glad to see them pull through and win.”
However, Seymour fell just short after a big effort.
“I think it came down to some points with a few errors here and there,” Hammel said of the No. 2 doubles team. “Yijiang got anxious and over-hit her shots at times. Brooke tried to do a little too much with her volleys and missed a couple of them. The little miscues eventually caught up to them.”