Center Grove tops Roncalli to take crown in regional


As it advances deeper into the postseason, the Center Grove girls tennis team knew that its superior depth would pay dividends.

It certainly did on Wednesday.

By the time they had dropped their first individual match points of the tournament at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, the Trojans already had a regional team title in pocket, riding dominant performances at third singles and both doubles matches to a 3-2 victory over Roncalli at the University of Indianapolis Tennis Center.

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Center Grove (19-2) will play at home in a semistate match on Saturday against Centerville or Oldenburg Academy.

"What we rely on is our depth," Center Grove coach Debby Burton said, "and being able to have that potential to get a point just about anywhere."

The Trojans’ No. 1 doubles team of Cassidy Hardin and Isabella Schoolcraft got on the board first, powering their way to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Grace Mappes and Abigail Yohler. Moments later, the No. 2 doubles match was over as well, with Carleigh Hardin and Elle Strube having defeated Lauren Liberto and Allison Lewis by a 6-0, 6-1 count.

"We’ve been working a lot in practice, attacking the net and being aggressive, and it really followed through in this match," Carleigh Hardin said of her partnership with Strube. Our communication is great, we’re bonding really well. Everything’s going perfect as of right now."

Center Grove clinched the match with another 6-0, 6-0 triumph, this one from Maddie Weeks at No. 3 singles.

The Rebels (17-5) made the final score a bit tighter by claiming the other two singles points. Emma Hess topped Katelyn Gray at No. 1, and Megan Zakrowski edged Emily Hoy at No. 2.

Hess moves into the individual singles bracket and will play in a sectional championship match today at Center Grove against Whiteland’s Reese Johnson.

In the individual doubles tournament, Greenwood’s Molly Jacobs and Alyssa Roscoe steamrolled their way to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Alivia Chenoweth and Sam Watson of Shelbyville. Jacobs and Roscoe advance into the regional round, where they will face an opponent to be determined at Fishers.

"My goal was just to win conference," Jacobs said, "but obviously we’ve made it way past that, so now we’re kind of taking in the moment and just enjoying each match."

The Trojans, likewise, are rolling on to the next round — and while the victories have come with relative ease thus far, they’re not considering anything automatic.

"We’re taking it serious every single day and every point, just point by point," Carleigh Hardin said. "No matter what the score is, we’re going to play as hard as we can, because we know it can come down to anything at any time."