North cruises against Pirates

Doubles teams come up big in shutout win

Columbus North girls tennis coach Kendal Hammel said his doubles teams have struggled at times closing out matches, but they had no trouble against Greensburg on Wednesday.

The No. 12-ranked Bull Dogs cruised to a 5-0 victory against the Pirates, and Hammel was especially proud of how his doubles teams competed.

The No. 1 doubles team of Servane Cloteaux and Shweta Srinivasan swept their match against Greensburg’s Elaine Welage and Julia Pacilio 6-0, 6-0. The Bull Dogs’ Ali Bergman and Eva Chevalier also beat Kristen Fong and Claudia Westhafer with the same score at No. 2 doubles.

“I was really pleased, the fact that we won the matches both at 0 and 0,” Hammel said. “They did not make mistakes, and they did what they needed to do to win the matches. That was a good thing to see that.”

North’s Yijiang Zhao won 6-0, 6-0, as well, beating Ellie Acra at No. 3 singles. Aubrey Smith earned a point for North at No. 1 singles, winning 6-2, 6-1 against Raegan Rigney. Madelyn Sanders finished the match at No. 2 singles by beating Bailey Menkedick 6-2, 6-0.

Sanders felt pretty good coming into the match after getting plenty of practice with the hitting machine the day before and said she could tell the entire team was focused going into the competition.

“We got really hyped up before the match,” Sanders said. “Every girl, you saw it in here that they were ready to play, and we definitely performed how we should have.”

Hammel said the Pirates aren’t bad hitters, but acknowledged their lack of experience with four freshmen playing varsity, so winning the match was not a big surprise for the Bull Dogs (12-2). Matches like Greensburg are getting them prepared for the tougher competition North will face next week, including the Conference Indiana tournament scheduled for May 6 at Franklin Central.

“We’ve got a conference match (today against Franklin Central), and we’ve got a couple of other matches that aren’t going to be necessarily strong competition,” Hammel said. “But next week, we’ve got some big matches later and our conference tournament. So it’s just keeping that edge. You’re going to have some weaker teams, and you’re going to have some stronger teams, just like in any other sport. We just have to go out there and hopefully do things that we should be doing so we’re ready to play against the better teams.”

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.