As prohibitive favorites in their sectional and regional, Columbus North’s eye on Monday night’s girls tennis draw was looking a little farther down the line.
The third-ranked Bull Dogs are in the same semistate as No. 2 Jasper, but in each four-team semistate, teams square off in two separate matches, with both winners advancing to the state quarterfinals. As luck would have it, North drew a matchup with Jasper, which hosts the semistate on May 28.
Jasper beat the Bull Dogs 3-2 earlier this season.
“We’ve been counting on singles a lot,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “We’re hoping now that we have some doubles positions that maybe down the stretch, they can come up big when we need them. That’s why we’re working on specific things with the doubles players.”
First up, the Bull Dogs are preparing to host this week’s North Sectional. The Bull Dogs (10-3) play crosstown rival Columbus East (1-14) in the opening round at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The teams were rained out of their regular-season meeting this season.
The North-East winner will face Edinburgh (9-5) in Thursday’s semifinals. In the other semifinal, Hauser (6-8) will play Brown County (10-9).
“We’ve had a little bit of a struggle winning,” Hauser coach Molly Crabtree said. “We have a young team. It’s been a learning year, but they’re improving. I feel like we can compete with a few of the teams.”
The final is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday.
“We are the favorite in the sectional and probably the regional,” Hammel said. “We have a really good team and are looking forward to it. We’re healthy and ready to go.”
The Bull Dogs have been working on some of the finer aspects in the game in practice.
“More than anything right now, we’re concentrating on specifics with the varsity,” Hammel said. “During the season, we have the whole team involved. This past week, we’re working with individuals on specific things like volleys, serves and things like that.”
The winner of the North Sectional will play the winner of the Greensburg Sectional in the semifinals of the Bloomington South Regional on May 24. Jennings County will play Shawe Memorial in the first round of the Greensburg Sectional, with the winner facing Madison in the semifinals. Southwestern (Hanover) and Greensburg are on the opposite side of the bracket.
The regional final is May 25.
State quarterfinals are June 3, and the winner of the semistate battle between the Bloomington South and Jasper Regional winners will be played at Carmel. State semifinals and finals are June 4 at Center Grove.