LIMA — After winning winning the regular-season crown, Shawnee entered the start of the Western Buckeye League tournament with four top seeds and a second seed among its five entries.
The Indians lived up to their reputation very well during Thursday’s opening rounds on a sunny and warm fall morning and afternoon at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
“The last couple of seasons, we’ve been a fairly young team. We have a more veteran team this fall but we will still have several back for next fall,” Shawnee head coach Nate Higgins said. “We have good players that have consistently grown in the sport. They all play in the off-season and work extremely hard during the off-season to better themselves.”
Among the top-seeded performers for the Indians are first singles Aria Patel, who downed Addy Schmiedebusch of Ottawa-Glandorf 6-2, 6-1.
At second singles, Kunmi Ojo defeated Kaylin Avers of Celina 6-0, 6-0.
At third singles, Alora Patel knocked off Kenton’s Grace Collins 6-0, 6-0.
At first doubles, Katie Clark and Alotus Wei defeated Elida’s Keighley Eickholt and McKenzie Savill 6-2, 6-1.
At second doubles, second-deeded Donna Bowers and Hannah Paton beat Defiance’s Sofia Castillo and Ava Shock 6-1, 6-0.
“We have built up such a good reputation over the years in girls tennis and we have a lot of high expectations every year. These girls do what needs to be done to continue that legacy,” Higgins said. “Because of what these girls do on their own, I have realized that as their coach, since they know how to play the game, I can focus more on the mental approach to things. I don’t necessarily have to focus on their play on the court — I do for the junior varsity players — but I can put my focus on the mental part of the game.
“For example, we practiced Wednesday. We did drills like those that were serving, they were down love-30 to see how they would react. I think one of the things these girls are better at this year is how they react when things are going against them. That is an important part of having success in this sport.”
Other results at first singles included Schmiedebusch over Alexa Bickford of Defiance 6-0, 6-2; Mykaela Schriber of Kenton outlasting Madison Snider of Wapakoneta 6-4, 4-6, 6-1; Grace Lott of Van Wert over Ava Long of Elida 6-0, 6-1, then losing 6-2, 6-0 to Bath’s Esther Bolon; and Grace Gables of Celina over Allie Vanderhorst of St. Marys 6-2, 6-1.
Second singles: Avers over Maggie Little of Elida 6-1, 6-0; Grace Dotson over Lily Osburn of Kenton 6-0, 6-1, then falling 6-0, 6-0 to Ruby Bolon of Bath; Emma Schmiedebusch of Ottawa-Glandorf 6-4, 6-4 over Brianna Shank of Defiance; Ellie Schroer of Wapakoneta 6-2, 6-3 over Van Wert’s Alli Morrow.
Third singles: Collins 6-0, 6-0 over Defiance’s Reece MIller; Amy Hartings of Celina 6-3, 6-3 over St. Marys’ Charley Spencer; Riley Mick of Elida over Lexi White of Bath 6-2, 6-3, then losing to Wapak’s MaKenzie Schroder 6-0, 6-0; O-G’s Alyse Balbaugh 6-4, 6-4 over Van Wert’s Lizzie Rutkowski.
First doubles: Eickholt and Savill 6-1, 7-6 (4) over Defiance’s Chloe Wetstein and Marissa Blunt; Bath’s Fayme Gandhi and Elena Oliver 6-4, 7-5 over O-G’s Megan Ketner and Lauryn Bockrath; Allyson Tagle and Jaden Gibson of St. Marys 6-1, 6-1 over Kayce Sherman and Aaliyah Rogers of Kenton, then losing 6-2, 6-1 to Wapak’s Casey Minnig and Alyssa Good; Van Wert’s Paige Moonshower and Allie Etter 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 over Celina’s Madina Davlatboyeva and Kaylin Saunders.
Second doubles: Castillo and Shock 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) over Elida’s Emily Bowers and Bea Kurmul; St. Marys’ Ashley Dawson and Alivia Sawmiller 6-4, 6-4 over Kenton’s Abbey Anglemyer and Samantha Lower, then losing to top-seeded Kaylee Jennings and Jada Buckner of Van Wert 6-0, 6-1; O-G’s Claire Ellerbrock and Sami Ellerbrock 6-2, 6-0 over Wapak’s Sara Stiles and Bailey Barrett; Bath’s Rachel Wilcox and Chloe Rieman outlasted Celina’s Audrey Albers and Michelle Elston 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2.
In the back draw (played in a pro set):
First singles: Snider 8-4 over Addi Schmiedebusch and Gables 8-2 over Lott.
Second singles: Avers 8-4 over Shank and Dawson 8-6 over Morrow.
Third singles: Collins 8-6 over Spencer and Rutkowski 801 over Mick.
First doubles: Ketner and Lauryn Bockrath 3-0, retired over Eickholt and Savill and Davlatboyeva and Saunders 8-3 over Tagle and Gibson.
Second doubles: Claire and Sam Ellerbrock 8-3 over Castillo and Shock and Dawson and Sawmiller 8-4 over Albers and Elston.
Saturday’s semifinals begin at 9 a.m. at the same venue.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.