For the first time in school history, the girls’ tennis team will be making back-to-back trips to the IHSAA Team State Finals.
The 8th-ranked Eagles punched their ticket to state with a 5-0 shutout over 27th-ranked (Elkhart) Concord in the semi-state at Homestead HS in Fort Wayne on Saturday.
This will be the fourth time at the State Finals for the Delta girls. The Eagles finished third at state in 2000 as well as fifth in both 2011 and 2018.
Delta (24-1) will face No. 1 ranked Indianapolis Cathedral (20-0) at 3 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals. The match will be at Carmel HS courts, and admission is $5.
The other state pairings will be:
No. 3 Carmel vs. No. 8 Columbus North
At Center Grove
No. 2 Park Tudor vs. No. 4 Munster
At Center Grove
No. 11 Center Grove vs. unranked Washington
The victory over Concord included many highlights.
Last year Delta beat Concord 3-2 in the semi-state, but the Eagles graduated four seniors: Grace Belangee (third on our all-time wins list and all-state doubles), Emma Snider (seventh on our all-time wins list), Lexie Manor (all-state doubles), and Kortney Helm (three-sport athlete). Combined, those girls piled up 226 career varsity victories.
Concord returned five of their seven starters from last season and was enjoying a huge season: a 15-1 team record, third straight regional title, and individual conference championships at 1S, 1D and 2D. Their lineup featured four seniors and three juniors.
But this match was all Delta.
First off the court was No. 2 doubles, where senior Mayzie Hinkle and freshman Abby Bamidele won 6-0, 7-5 over Concord seniors Kelsee O’Dell and Kaylee Price. Hinkle and Bamidele are now 15-0 together this season. Hinkle is 21-2 overall and has 68 career wins, 10th in school history. She is 15-1 in her postseason matches the past three seasons. Bamidele is 20-1 in her first season of varsity action.
Next off the court was freshman Maggie Hunt at No. 3 singles. She won 6-3, 6-1 over Concord junior Lauren Boessler. Hunt, who is 17-8 this spring, controlled her match by effectively mixing the depth of her shots.
Clinching the team victory was freshman Gwendolyn Clark, who won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles over junior Megan Godzisz. Clark raised her record to 19-7 and remained unbeaten in the postseason. This was her finest match of the season as the Concord 2S player entered with a 21-2 record.
At No. singles, senior Ellie Snider trailed scrappy Concord senior Regan Landis 2-4 in the first set. Snider then fine-tuned her accuracy and began moving Landis all over the court, wearing her out. Snider won 6-4, 6-2 to hand Landis only her second loss of the season. Snider now is 23-1 and gained her 60th career win in just three seasons of high school tennis.
That left only No. 1 doubles on the court. Both teams entered with similar resumes: sophomores Tynan Dishman and Maggie Manor of Delta were 17-1 together and were unbeaten in the postseason while Concord senior Keegan Thursby and junior Lauren Pollock were 22-1 together and were unbeaten in the postseason.
Dishman and Manor started strong and raced to a 6-2 first-set win, but Thursby and Pollock regrouped and won 6-3 in the second set. Delta took a 4-1 lead in the third set, only to see Concord rally for a 4-4 tie, before Delta prevailed 6-4 in the third set.
Dishman (23-2) and Manor (22-3) are now 18-1 together this season.