By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Fresh off of their respective league tournament victories, the Tippecanoe and Milton-Union tennis teams turned their sights to the postseason.
And Tuesday at Troy High School and Troy Community Park, the Red Devils and Bulldogs both kicked off the Division II sectional tournament by sending one singles player and one doubles team to next week’s district tournament, as Tippecanoe’s Dakota Schroeder and the team of Amelia and Eliza Zweizig and Milton-Union’s Meredith Fitch and the team of Taylor Falb and Laura Billing all advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, punching their district tickets in the process.
Schroeder, the No. 1 seed in the singles bracket, did not drop a game on her way to sealing a district berth. After an opening-round bye, she swept Kenton Ridge’s Molly Patton 6-0, 6-0 and Greenon’s Lilly Rowlans 6-0, 6-0 to reach the quarterfinal round. There, she overpowered Urbana’s Rachel White 6-0, 6-0 to qualify for the district tournament.
It will be Schroeder’s second trip to the district tournament in singles. She qualified as an unseeded player her freshman year, then she was upset by Milton-Union’s Falb last season.
Fitch, a junior and two-time district qualifier in doubles, drew the No. 4 seed in singles in this year’s tournament. After a first-round bye, she bounced back from slow starts in her first two matches of the day, defeating Tippecanoe’s Rainey Messinger 6-4, 6-0 and then Greenville’s Natalie Milligan 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinal round, where she swept her way past Bellefontaine’s Courtney Sims 6-0, 6-0 to advance to the semifinal round and qualify for the district tournament.
Fitch had teamed up with seniors in each of her first two seasons for the sectional, qualifying in doubles with Abby Hissong as a freshman and Hannah Fugate last year. She and Schroeder will now face off in Saturday’s semifinal round — a matchup that Schroeder won 6-3, 6-0 during the regular season.
Tippecanoe also had the No. 1 seed in the doubles bracket in Amelia and Eliza Zweizig.
The Zweizigs, like Schroeder, cruised through their first day of sectional play without dropping a game. Not taking a first-round bye, the sisters — who played together at first double for the majority of the regular season — swept Greenon’s Makenna Taylor and Cayleigh Butler 6-0, 6-0 and Springfield Shawnee’s K. Kloeker and K. Sharp 6-0, 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals, then they swept Urbana’s M. Flowers and L. Windmiller 6-0, 6-0 to reach the semis.
It will be the first trip to the district tournament for Eliza Zweizig, a freshman, while Amelia will be returning for the third time. The junior qualified in singles as a freshman and in doubles with Mira Patel last season.
Milton-Union’s Falb and Billing, meanwhile, entered the day as the No. 3 seed and ended it playing like it.
The duo — the Bulldogs’ second and third singles players throughout the regular season, respectively — had a bye in the first round, then they bounced back from a mildly-slow start to blow past Greenville’s Faith Mansfield and Felicity Lance 6-2, 6-0. Falb and Billing then took on Urbana’s J. Collins and L. Geuy in the quarterfinals, controlling the match from the start in a 6-1, 6-0 win to advance to the semis.
It’s the second trip to the district tournament for both, as Falb qualified in singles as a freshman last year, while Billing, who didn’t play her junior year, qualified in doubles with Caitlin Bushelman as a sophomore.
The Red Devils nearly had another return qualifier in singles, as Patel gave one of the seeds everything she could handle in a third-round matchup.
Patel, who defeated Bellefontaine’s Samantha Starkey 6-0, 6-1 in her first match of the day, took on Springfield Shawnee’s Jitka Jemelkova, the No. 2 seed in the bracket, in a third-round match — and took the first set in convincing fashion, 6-2. But Jemelkova bounced back to win the second set 6-4 and, thanks to the extreme heat, force a super-tiebreaker for the third set, winning that 10-6 to hold on and advance.
Also for Tippecanoe in singles, Messinger defeated Northwestern’s Gabby Limes 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 in a first-round match before falling 6-4, 6-0 to Milton-Union’s Fitch.
And in doubles, Lona Maybury and Lilly McDowell won a first-round match against Lehman’s Ann Deafenbaugh and Taylor Reineke, 6-0, 6-0, before falling to the No. 2 seed, Northwestern’s Leah Fraker and Macy Yeager, 6-1, 6-0.
For Milton-Union in singles, Madison Silveira won her first match of the day, defeating Greenon’s Zoe Hale 6-3, 6-2, then she fell to Greenville’s Abby Swensen 6-1, 6-1 in a third-round match. Amelia Black lost to Urbana’s Heather Packer 7-5, 6-2 in a first-round match.
And in doubles, Emma Lehman and Paige Barnes lost in the first round to Brookville’s L. Hinds and C. Brown, 6-3, 6-2.
For Lehman in singles, Madi Gleason lost a first-round match to Bellefontaine’s Mia Neer 6-0, 6-0. Mary Lins had a first-round bye, then lost to Bellefontaine’s Sims, 6-0, 6-0. Macie Verdeir also had a first-round bye before losing to Urbana’s White, 6-3, 6-1.
And in doubles, Deafenbaugh and Reineke lost to Tippecanoe’s Maybury and McDowell 6-0, 6-0, and Angela Brunner and Liann Trahey lost in three sets in the first round to Bellefontaine’s Na Lin and Gracie Middaugh, falling 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (11).
The sectional semifinals will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Troy Community Park.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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