Turnaround wins spur Plymouth to second place NLC finish

Leah Smith has the serve in NLC action.
By: 
Ron Haramia
Sports Writer

The highly competitive Northern Lakes Conference tennis season finished with just as competitive of a season-ending tourney Friday at the Mary Beth Hunter Tennis Complex.
After three days of matches, Plymouth made its mark by winning the championship match at two spots - No. 1 doubles and No. 3 singles, finishing second in another (2 doubles), third at No. 2 singles and a fourth-place at No. 1 singles to finish second in the tournament and third overall for the conference.
“We are a little disappointed to be that close (to finishing first) after all we have put into it, but we reversed two regular season outcomes and put forth our best effort,” said Plymouth head coach Brad Haeck, whose team was just ?? points behind tourney winner Warsaw.
Concord came into the tournament with the most players seeded 1 or 2 with four (all 2 seeds at every position but 3 singles), followed closely by Plymouth (both doubles and 3 singles) and Warsaw (all singles positions) with three each.
The seedings held true entering Friday’s finals, but Miranda German provided one of Plymouth’s highlights, upsetting No. 1 seed Alyssa Zellers, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) at No. 3 singles. The win was also a little revenge for the PHS freshman after losing a tough three-setter earlier in the season to the Warsaw sophomore.
“Miranda played great,” said Haeck. “She was really determined. Lately she had been dwelling on her bad points or shots, but she kept her composure, even when she was down. She did very well.”
German smoked Zellers, 6-1, in the first set, and jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the second before Zellers won the next three games to take a 5-3 lead and it looked like it a three-setter was on the way. German regrouped though, and pulled even at 5-5, then again at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. In that, German played terrific, running down almost every one of Zellers’ side-to-side groundstrokes before either hitting a winner herself or forcing an error. She quickly went up 4-0, then 6-1, before ending the match at 7-3.
Even though they were seeded first, Plymouth’s No. 1 doubles team of Leah Smith and McKenzie Scheetz had the chance to redeem their only conference loss during the regular season when they faced off with Concord’s Keegan Thursby and Megan Godzisz. Playing what Haeck said, “may have been their best tennis all year”, Smith and Scheetz took control of the net and won in convincing fashion with a 6-3, 6-0, victory.
“They were motivated,” added Haeck. “They played aggressive, served in play, stepped into their returns, and were outstanding.”
Mary Beatty and Audie Plothow lost a tough three-setter at No. 2 doubles, with Concord’s Kelsee O’Dell and Lauren Pollock coming out on top, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-1, to place second at that position.
Kyla Heckaman played very steady to defeat NorthWood’s Gretchen Adams, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, to take third place at No. 2 singles.
“Kyla found a way to get it done,” Haeck said. “That was a long first set, but she pulled it out. Then she was able to string together a few games in a row in the second set. That was a good win.”
Cortni Cook was seeded fourth and finished there after NorthWood’s Reegan Miller 6-4, 7-5 consolation win at No. 1 singles.
The Lady Pilgrims have a rare “away” home match Monday, when they play West Lafayette at Logansport High School.

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