Franklin’s girls tennis team hadn’t faced too many serious challenges during an unbeaten regular season. Staring down the barrel of elimination in their sectional semifinal match at Center Grove, the young Grizzly Cubs answered the call to begin what they hope will be a lengthy postseason run.

The 11th-ranked Grizzly Cubs won a 4-1 battle with the host Trojans and then swept Greenwood 5-0 to win their first sectional title since 2009 and just their second in the last 27 years.

Franklin (19-0) advances to play in the semifinal round of the Center Grove Regional on Tuesday.

“It was really tough,” said Franklin’s Emma Williams, who won a pair of matches at third singles. “I had to think about my team, making sure that I won for the team, just going point by point. Playing with the wind was really difficult, but I pushed through mentally; we had to be mentally strong.”

Most of the day’s drama came in the semifinals — particularly in the rematch between the Grizzly Cubs and the 18th-ranked Trojans. Franklin had rolled to a 5-0 victory when the teams met back on April 19, but Friday’s meeting offered considerably more tension.

Rylie Wilkison got the Grizzly Cubs out in front with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Lauren Dick at first singles, but Center Grove countered with Ava Beecher’s 6-3, 6-0 triumph over Chelsie Rayl in the No. 2 spot.

Facing adversity in the three remaining matches, Franklin dug deep and responded. Emma Williams bounced back from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to defeat Emerson Donaldson at third singles 7-5, 6-3 — and the Grizzly Cubs’ No. 2 tandem of Kennedy Urban and Emma Sappenfield rallied from a set down to clinch the match with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 comeback effort against Center Grove’s Madison Herron and Peri Small.

“Mentally, we kind of got down on ourselves, but then we turned it right around,” Urban said. “There was a couple of points where we kind of gave up, I guess, but we had to figure that out and then come out in the second set and take it.”

At first doubles, Franklin’s Haley Haldeman and Ailyn Hendricks also dropped the first set before bouncing back for a 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 win.

The championship match was considerably less dramatic.

Wilkison outlasted Greenwood’s Sophia Davidson in the No. 1 position, 6-4, 6-3, while Rayl topped Marisa Linville 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 and Williams beat Margaret Boyce 6-0, 6-0 in the third spot.

Haldeman and Hendricks turned around shortly after their semifinal marathon and dispatched Ava Stein and Brooklyn Hanson 6-4, 6-2 at first doubles; at No. 2, Meleah Murphy and Kate Pinnick were a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Audrey Poynter and Savannah McCauley.

The Woodmen had earned their spot in the title match by defeating Whiteland, 4-1, in the other semifinal.

Davidson was a 6-1, 6-1 victor over Sara Ullrich at No. 1 singles; Whiteland evened the score up when Cathy Nguyen and Kinsey Shipp finished off a 6-4, 6-2 win at second doubles against McCauley and Meri Yusef.

The Woodmen then sealed the deal by taking each of the remaining matches in three sets. Linville defeated Candace Stephenson at second singles 6-1, 2-6, 6-2; Boyce topped Ella Proctor at No. 3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2; and the duo of Stein and Hanson earned a 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 win over Kailyn Sheridan and Brenna Atchison at No. 1 doubles.

Having staved off a considerable challenge against the Trojans, Franklin now feels as though it’s ready for anything it might see the rest of the way.

“It helped us get out of our heads,” Williams said. “Know that we are a good team and that we can push through people like Center Grove, because they are very strong. So it helped us, and I’m looking forward to the future.”