The Columbus North girls tennis team entered the season ranked 16th in the state poll, and the Bull Dogs thought they had questions to answer once they stepped on to the courts.
With a 4-1 victory against Seymour, North feels it has some of the answers they were looking for.
“We’re on track,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “We’re strong in the singles, but doubles is still going to be something we have to work at because Sara (Vanderkolk) is out of the lineup right now, and that changes things. The girls were very nervous, but I felt they did a really nice job today.”
North freshman No. 1 singles player Aubrey Smith took the court for her first high school match feeling the need to lead by example. She defeated Marley Vehslage 6-1, 6-1.
“I was really nervous going in, but it was exciting to finally get on the court,” Smith said. “It’s a lot of responsibility playing 1 singles, and there are some really good players out there, but that just gives me a chance to prove myself this season.”
North’s Paige Littrell topped Hallie Crenshaw 6-0, 6-4 at No. 2 singles, and Meagan Olibo downed Kennedy Richart 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3 singles. The Bull Dogs’ Brooke Richardson and Rosemary Yonushonis defeated Payton Warren and Lindsey Hume 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles.
Vanderkolk and Sydney Anderson were state qualifiers in doubles last season. With Vanderkolk not yet having enough practices in after recovering from mono, Anderson played with Alex Friend. The new duo suffered North’s only loss of the day to Seymour’s Karen Dringenburg and Emma Wood, falling 6-2, 6-1.
“We felt comfortable together and gained confidence today,” Dringenburg said. “Talking at the net was something we’ve worked on, and I felt it helped us today.”
“I think we did a good job playing aggressively,” Wood said. “Today helped us learn what we need to work on moving forward.”
Seymour (0-1) played competitively with the experienced North team and was able to prepare itself for its first Hoosier Hills Conference match against Jeffersonville today.
“We have a new lineup this season,” Seymour coach Jennifer Miller said. “We graduated some girls last year, so we have some new players. North is a great program, and playing them is a good way to gauge where we are and what we need to work on.”