Last fall, the Delta boys’ tennis team gained widespread attention by winning its 30th straight sectional championship. On Friday, the Delta girls’ tennis team added on to its legacy that is almost identical. The girls won their 30th sectional in the past 31 years.
Since the spring of 1993, the boys and girls have won 59 sectional championships and lost only one — the Spring 2010 girls’ sectional when the Eagles lost 3-2 to Yorktown.
Yorktown was again the opponent in the finals this year, and the Eagles came away with a 5-0 shutout victory for their 12th consecutive sectional title.
23rd-ranked Delta (18-3) will advance to the Marion Regional on Tuesday against Alexandria, the winner of the Anderson Sectional. The time of that match is yet to be finalized. Jay County, winner of its own sectional, faces Mississinewa, winner of the Marion Sectional, in the other semifinal. The winners then will face off Wednesday for the regional title, which Delta has won seven years in a row.
Delta yielded only 15 games total in the match against Yorktown. This was the same number of games the Eagles allowed in the SmashCancer victory over Yorktown two weeks earlier.
The biggest improvement came at No. 2 singles, where sophomore Brylee Beckley continued her recent hot play with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Yorktown’s Shia Burns. Two weeks ago, Brylee won that match 6-4, 6-4. With seven wins in her last eight matches, Brylee now is 14-8 for the season.
The No. 1 singles match on Friday featured some strong groundstroke exchanges as Delta junior Gabby Knight and Yorktown sophomore Jillian Darby each played well. Gabby prevailed 6-3, 6-4 to extend her record to 17-7 in her first season at No. 1 singles. She has won seven in a row.
Senior Iva Witter won for the 10th time in her past 11 matches as she blitzed Yorktown’s Emma Hansard 6-0, 6-1. Witter is 18-5 at No. 3 singles.
The No. 1 doubles team of senior Janet Wegener and freshman Katie Manor won 6-1, 6-0 over Jenna Tuck and Rylee Webb and are now 21-3. Their only losses have been to Carmel, Noblesville and Center Grove.
The No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Kelsey Vest and Rowan Hinds also reached the 20-win mark for the season by topping Yorktown’s Sara Garcia and Bailey Robertson 6-2, 6-2. They are 20-3 with losses only to Carmel, Westfield and Center Grove.
Delta reached the IHSAA Final Four last spring and finished with a 20-5 record. But three varsity seniors — No. 1 singles Gwen Clark, No. 1 doubles Maggie Hunt and No. 2 doubles Madelyn Haley — graduated and took more than 130 career varsity victories with them. Replacing those three in the lineup this year fell on the young shoulders of sophomore Kelsey Vest and freshmen Katie Manor, Rowan Hinds and Elizabeth Bamidele. Those four young players have done an amazing job with 46 varsity wins and only seven losses combined.
This has come even with a challenging schedule that has included matches against the following teams with these current state rankings: No. 2 Carmel, No. 5 Noblesville, No. 9 Westfield, No. 14 Center Grove, No. 16 Bloomington North, No. 28 West Lafayette, and No. 30 Mount Vernon as well as Fort Wayne Carroll, which is currently unranked but has been in the Top 30 much of the season, and three more strong teams, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard, Fort Wayne Concordia and Alexandria.
Delta beat Alexandria 6-1 on April 20 on Teacher Appreciation Day. Alexandria won at No. 2 singles and also had a 6-4 set at No. 1 doubles, so the Eagles will need to be ready to compete again on Tuesday.
Complete Results of Sectional Final
No. 1 — Gabby Knight (D) def. Jillian Darby (Y) 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 — Brylee Beckley (D) def. Shia Burns (Y) 6-2, 6-0
No. 3 — Iva Witter (D) def. Emma Hansard (Y) 6-0, 6-1
No. 1 — Janet Wegener / Katie Manor (D) def. Jenna Tuck /Rylee Webb (Y) 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 — Kelsey Vest / Rowan Hinds (D) def. Sara Garcia / Bailey Robertson (Y) 6-2, 6-2