By Mark Ambrogi | For the Daily Journal
Whiteland junior Ella Proctor had to fight through some different layers of adversity on Thursday.
Warriors coach Mike Gillespie said simply it was “mental toughness at its finest” that made the difference for Proctor.
Proctor rallied for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Indian Creek senior Zoe Rayback at No. 3 singles as the Warriors edged Indian Creek 3-2 in first round of the Center Grove Sectional.
Well, actually all but a minute of the match was at Center Grove. With Proctor serving up 5-1 and 30-15 in the third set, the lightning alarm went off to halt play.
With the semifinals and finals set for today, Center Grove athletic director Scott Knapp asked both coaches if they wanted to finish the match on Greenwood High School’s one indoor court. Knapp was able to arrange that and the two teams headed there.
Proctor said on the bus ride from Center Grove, her teammates didn’t discuss the match.
“We just sang songs,” she said. “We were getting pumped up.”
Once warmups were completed, Proctor won two quick points to end the match.
Whiteland (12-7) advances to meet Greenwood in one semifinal today while No. 11 Franklin faces No. 18 Center Grove in the other. The semis are at 4:30 p.m. at Center Grove, with the championship to follow.
Rain clouds looked heavy for some time before it started to drizzle lightly.
“I just slowed things down so I didn’t rush so much,” Proctor said. “The court was getting slippery. I wanted to take it smooth as possible.”
Proctor said it was one of her better comebacks.
“The first set I kind of got in my head a little bit, but the second set I knew I had to compete and come back,” Proctor said.
Gillespie said he wasn’t paying attention to the impending rain.
“You start thinking about that, you don’t think about tennis anymore,” Gillespie said. “We played them recently and we wanted to play better, and I thought we did.”
The Braves had won the first meeting, 3-2.
“I give Indian Creek a lot of credit; they’re good,” Gillespie said. “They got a singles player and a doubles team going on and I’m excited to see how they can go.’
Braves sophomore Lauren Foster defeated junior Sarah Ullrich 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 singles. Indian Creek got its other point at No. 1 doubles, where senior Emilee Scott and junior Olivia Perry defeated seniors Kailyn Sheridan and Brenna Atchison 6-2, 6-1.
For the Warriors, junior Lauren Lewis downed sophomore Candace Stephenson 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2 singles, while sophomores Cathy Nguyen and Kinsey Shipp beat seniors Avery Burress and Addy Tunell 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles.
“Our No. 2 doubles played a lot better today, I was really proud of them,” Gillespie said. “Across the board, we played better at every position.”
Indian Creek coach Mike Perry said it was a good competitive match, and he was pleased to see Foster and the No. 1 doubles team advance in the individual portion of the tournament.
“I think coach Gillespie and I knew it was going to come down to a point,” said Perry, whose team finished 13-4. “We got them 3-2 (earlier) and they got us in sectionals when it mattered. Overall, we had a great season.”
Whiteland edged Greenwood 3-2 earlier this season, but Gillespie said he has made lineup changes since then.