PORTSMOUTH — Indeed, eight originally advanced, but unfortunately for Scioto County’s girls tennis district tournament qualifiers, the road ended here.
That’s because both Wheelersburg’s doubles teams and Notre Dame’s Kathryn Nelson lost in semifinal competition —while Notre Dame’s doubles team and Minford’s Addyson Akers in singles action both fell in quarterfinals matches.
And although Nelson, Akers and Wheelersburg seniors Isabella Hamilton and Maegan Jolly and junior Emily Janney were all competing in the Division II Southeast-East District tournament at Portsmouth High School for the second consecutive season, they couldn’t quite qualify for the coveted state meet.
Jolly and Janney were actually the Southeast District sectional champions from that two-day tournament at PHS, while Wheelersburg’s Hamilton and junior teammate Maria Nolan teamed up in the postseason —and were the sectional’s runner-up to their Lady Pirates teammates.
The finalists in both the singles and doubles single-elimination district tournament advance to the state meet —which is set for Friday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, and where Wheelersburg’s Maddie Gill qualified to for four consecutive years.
Three of those, of course, were with doubles partner Kaitlyn Sommer — while last season she was the district runner-up as a singles player.
Wheelersburg coach Jodi Wright was honestly hoping at least one of her doubles tandems could advance back this year, with Janney and Jolly returning and while Hamilton had reached the district doubles last season —with the graduated Payton Walker.
But Jolly and Janney — after sweeping Waverly’s Greenlee Thacker and Maggi Armstrong 6-1 and 6-0 in the quarterfinals — fell to Logan Elm’s Keller Clouse and Erin Gaskins in the semifinals, 6-1 and 6-4.
Hamilton and Nolan, on the other side of the bracket, defeated Logan Elm’s other doubles duo —Brooke Anderson and Ella Bennington — in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-7 and 6-2, before facing the returning district champions from East Liverpool.
That would be Sydney Cooper and Gianna Davie, who last season swept Janney and Jolly in a hard-fought encounter 7-5 and 6-2.
This season’s semifinals saw them rematch Wheelersburg with Hamilton and Nolan, and once again — in an even more challenging contest — the Potters prevailed over the Lady Pirates 6-4 and 7-6 (7-3 tiebreak).
In East Liverpool’s quarterfinal match, it defeated Notre Dame’s Mollie Creech and Savannah Holtgrewe (6-1 and 6-0).
Clouse, who teamed with Hope Akers a year ago at Logan Elm and were semifinalists, then joined Gaskins for the doubles finals —as they swept Cooper and Davie by a count of 6-2 and 6-3.
The Braves’ pair actually opened their competition by sweeping Cambridge’s Ziciah Gibson and Kara Loader in the quarterfinals, 6-1 and 6-2.
Wright was “so proud” of her doubles teams —despite not punching a state tournament ticket with them.
She had huge hugs and emotional moments with all four following their semifinal matches —as it was the final affairs for Hamilton and Jolly.
That Lady Pirates’ quartet was instrumental in another Southern Ohio Conference championship, as Janney and Jolly played first doubles — while Nolan was the primary first singles and Hamilton at third.
“Making it to the top four of the districts is excellent. I’m proud of all of them. They’ve done a great job. Three of the four were here last year. I hate to see them stop at this final four, but they’ve played well and put up a good fight. It just wasn’t our day,” said Wright. “It’s been nice having them by my side and be the leaders and help the younger girls along and show them the determination to meet their goals. The goal was to get back here and they did that. The other kids can look up to them and they’ve set the bar high. I will miss them, and they’ve kept the standard going.”
For Scioto County’s singles players,the two-time qualifier Nelson swept West Holmes’ Madison Baker 6-1 and 6-0 in the quarters, before falling to eventual two-time district champion —South Point sophomore Meredith Riley (6-0, 6-0) in the semifinals.
Riley faced Nelson in the quarterfinals last season, and also won that matchup with a shutout.
On the other side of the bracket, Akers — after teaming with the graduated Kennedy Potter last season for Minford —lost to eventual district runner-up and now two-time state qualifier, Athens senior Anna Chen, by identical 6-1 and 6-1 counts.
Riley, who swept Chen last season in the semifinals, returned to the singles finals —and swept Chen this season 6-0 and 6-1.
Riley opened her competition by first sweeping Kayla Barker of Waverly with a 6-1 and 6-0 score.
Waverly’s Blossom Smith lost 6-2 and 6-1 to Arianna Terakedis of Claymont in the quarterfinals, before Terakedis lost to Chen (6-1 and 6-1).
East Liverpool, whose trip to Portsmouth from eastern Ohio was four-and-a-half hours, now travels cross-state to Mason —and the Division II state tournament next weekend (Friday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Oct. 23).
Chen, Riley, Gaskins and Clouse will join them there, as the tournament takes place inside the incredible Lindner Family Tennis Center —directly across from Kings Island amusement park.
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Division II Southeast-East District
Singles Tournament Results
Quarterfinal: Meredith Riley (South Point) def. Kayla Barker (Waverly) 6-1 6-0
Quarterfinal: Kathryn Nelson (Notre Dame) def. Madison Baker (West Holmes) 6-1 6-0
Quarterfinal: Anna Chen (Athens) def. Addyson Akers (Minford) 6-1 6-1
Quarterfinal: Arianna Terakedis (Claymont) def. Blossom Smith (Waverly) 6-2 6-1
Semifinal: Meredith Riley (South Point) def. Kathryn Nelson (Notre Dame) 6-0 6-0
Semifinal: Anna Chen (Athens) def. Arianna Terakedis (Claymont) 6-1 6-1
Championship: Meredith Riley (South Point) def. Anna Chen (Athens) 6-0 6-1
Division II Southeast-East District
Doubles Tournament Results
Quarterfinal: Maegan Jolly and Emily Janney (Wheelersburg) def. Greenlee Thacker and Maggi Armstrong (Waverly) 6-1 6-0
Quarterfinal: Keller Clouse and Erin Gaskins (Logan Elm) def. Ziciah Gibson and Kara Loader (Cambridge) 6-1 6-2
Quarterfinal: Isabella Hamilton and Maria Nolan (Wheelersburg) def. Ella Bennington and Brooke Amderson (Logan Elm) 6-1, 6-7, 6-2
Quarterfinal: Sydney Cooper and Gianna Davie (East Liverpool) def. Mollie Creech and Savanah Holtgrewe (Notre Dame 6-1 6-0
Semifinal: Keller Clouse and Erin Gaskins (Logan Elm) def. Maegan Jolly and Emily Janney (Wheelersburg) 6-1 6-4
Semifinal: Sydney Cooper and Gianna Davie (East Liverpool) def. Isabella Hamilton and Maria Nolan (Wheelersburg) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3 tiebreak)
Championship: Keller Clouse and Erin Gaskins (Logan Elm) def. Sydney Cooper and Gianna Davie (East Liverpool) 6-2 6-3
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved