In a regional championship match that ended more than 24 hours after it started, the 20th-ranked Delta Eagles gained a 5-0 victory over 27th-ranked Alexandria.
The match started at 5 p.m. Wednesday outdoors at Marion High School. After more than an hour of action, rain postponed the match. The teams resumed at 4 p.m. Thursday indoors at the Howard County Indoor Tennis Center and finished a little more than an hour later.
As a result, Delta (18-4) will compete in the semistate against Fairfield (16-1) on Saturday morning. The starting time at the Homestead HS courts in Fort Wayne will be either 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. (will be updated as soon as official time is determined).
The Eagles have now won a school-record seven straight regional championships in girls’ tennis. The latest championship comes from a team that returned only three of its top seven varsity players from a year ago.
Delta will attempt to advance to the IHSAA State Finals for the fifth time in girls’ tennis (previously reaching team state in 2000, 2011, 2018, 2019).
Among the highlights of the regional victory over Alexandria:
> The Eagles swept all four of their sectional and regional opponents by 5-0 scores for the first time since 2017.
> The Eagles put an end to perhaps the finest season in Alexandria’s history. The Tigers finished 20-2, with both losses coming to Delta. Alexandria won conference, county and sectional titles and earned a state Top 30 ranking.
> Senior Maggie Hunt won her 60th career varsity match. She and partner Janet Wegener defeated Alexandria’s Taylor Stinefield and Carrie Remington 6-1, 6-3. Hunt becomes the 26th player in DHS girls’ tennis history to reach 60 career wins — and would most likely rank among the top five all-time if not for the Covid cancellation of her sophomore season. Hunt and Wegener improved to 23-2 for the season with losses only to Carmel and Hamilton Southeastern.
> Sophomore Gabby Knight collected her 20th win of the season at No. 2 singles. She raised her record to 20-5 with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Kara Simison at No. 2 singles.
> Freshman Brylee Beckley continued her hot play over the past month at No. 3 singles. She finished off a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Alexandria junior Gabby Hosier, who had been beaten only once all season. Five weeks ago Hosier beat Beckley in straight sets, but this time Beckley came out on top for her 12th victory in the past 14 matches.
> Senior Madelyn Haley and junior Iva Witter hung tough for a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 2 doubles. They trailed 3-4 in the second set before rallying to win the last three games. Haley and Witter are 19-4 at No. 2 doubles, where they have lost this spring only to Hamilton County powerhouses Carmel, Hamilton Southeastern and Westfield (twice).
> Senior Gwen Clark was the only player who didn’t have to compete when the match resumed on Thursday. She wrapped up her No. 1 singles match 6-0, 6-0 outdoors on Wednesday. Clark gained her 18th win of the season, a 50-percent improvement over her 12-win season a year ago at the top singles position.
Next up is the semi-state match against Fairfield. The Falcons’ only loss this season has been a 3-2 defeat against state-ranked Homestead. Fairfield, located in Goshen, features a deep and experienced lineup of seven returning varsity players from a year ago. They have strong records at all positions and lost just once at No. 1 singles, No. 3 singles, and No. 2 doubles.