Trojans’ Beecher, Dick defeated in state doubles quarterfinal


For Center Grove senior tennis player Ava Beecher, it was easy to pinpoint the difference in Friday’s match.

Angola’s sister act of junior Ava Harris and sophomore Maya Harris handled the wind much better than Beecher and senior partner Lauren Dick. As a result, Angola remained unbeaten with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 victory in the IHSAA state doubles quarterfinals at North Central.

“The wind was ridiculous, which is frustrating because we hadn’t practiced in the wind,” Beecher said. “We played a lot of matches in the wind. But we haven’t really practiced in the wind this week. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”

Center Grove coach Debby Burton didn’t want to use the wind as an excuse because both doubles teams had to deal with it.

“We played with a little bit of nerves, but we still battled and we cared,” Burton said. “They were super aggressive at the net and we were struggling to keep the ball away.”

Angola grabbed the momentum after winning the tiebreaker.

After getting down 5-0 in the second set, the Center Grove duo captured two games.

“I was super proud of them and how hard they fought,” Burton said. “We got two games and we just didn’t fold under. They had to play like three deuce points in order to win that last game. That’s all you can ever ask from your players is give everything they had, and that’s what they did. I’m disappointed and they’re disappointed. Maybe if we played them again tomorrow it would be totally different.”

Dick said they knew the Harris sisters were good volleyball players and tall at the net.

“We were going to try to utilize lobs and keeping it deep and away from the net player,” Dick said. “With the wind coming sideways, it was hard and unpredictable. It was hard to to use lobbing and keeping the shots in we usually do.”

This was the second year Beecher and Dick finished the year as No. 1 doubles partners.

“When they step back and they’re able to get over the hurt, they’ll look back and be proud of what they accomplished,” Burton said.

Beecher tried to look on that bright side.

“Seventh place out of 324 (teams in the tournament), you can’t be too mad about that,” Beecher said.

Beecher and Dick finished with a 14-2 record. Beecher said she and Dick have a bond on and off the court.

“Lauren and I are good friends, but we don’t spend every moment together, which I think is helpful for our bond,” Beecher said. “We have a great relationship and she is someone I can always count on. I think our chemistry comes from our effort level. I’m excited to see her play at the next level.”

Dick is headed to play for Indiana Wesleyan University. Beecher plans to attend University of Tampa; she said she doubts she will try to walk on, but club tennis is an option. Also a defensive specialist on the Trojans’ volleyball team, Beecher said club volleyball also is a possibility.

Dick said the partners’ strength was their competitiveness.

“We never give up during the match,” she said. “Every match, even if it was difficult to play in, we kept pushing ourselves through.”

Burton will miss the recent graduates, who she has known since middle school.

“They’ve worked hard,” she said. “It’s been lovely to watch them improve and grow from when they started the game. They love the game. They’re great leaders.”