Times Sports Editor
The last time Owen Valley and Northview faced each other on the tennis court, it took five days to determine the champion.
In Friday night's sectional championship match, it didn't take quite that long to find the winner, but the Knights are sure glad that the outcome was the same.
Northview was able to get a win from the No. 2 doubles team of Allison Stearley and Kaci Khert, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, to clinch a 3-2 win over the Patriots and claim the school's fifth consecutive championship.
"I'm so proud of these girls," coach Emily Goff said of the Knights. "Owen Valley is a good team, but our girls played their hearts out."
When the schools played each other during the regular season, bad weather halted the match before the No. 1 doubles team of Bonnie Froderman and Lauren Reberger could finish their match against Erin Truax and Elizabeth Schney. So the pair had to return to Spencer to finish off the match.
Froderman and Reberger won the match and thus helped the Knights win a 3-2 decision.
The pair went to three sets in their first meeting, but Pond wanted to end things a bit earlier this time.
"My goal was mainly not to go three sets again," Pond said with a smile. "I've been working hard to put top spin on the ball and trying to get up to the net."
The Knights' junior did both exceedingly well in putting Northview ahead 1-0 to set the tone.
"I thought that hopefully my teammates would see that I had won and maybe it would boost their confidence."
Froderman and Reberger just so happened to be playing right next to Pond and they apparently took the cue to get things done nearly as quickly.
The pair posted a 6-1, 6-2 victory that pushed the Knights ahead by a 2-0 score.
"We were a little nervous when the match began," Froderman said. "(Truax and Schney) are good, but I think we had a little bit of a bad day the last time (when it went three sets)."
With the other three matches going on, the Knights needed one more precious win to clinch the title, but the pressure was mounting.
Ali Rentschler trailed in her match after falling 3-6 in the first set and at No. 1 singles, Allie Melega had claimed the first set 6-2 and led 5-2 in the second before Adrian Gillaspy rallied to take the second set 7-5.
The Knights No. 2 doubles team of Allison Stearley and Kaci Khert had rolled to a 6-1 win in their opening set, but had fallen in the second, 4-6.
Plenty of pressure for all players involved, but it was Khert and Stearley that took control first in their match and put away Madeline Sego and Anita Thompson in the tie-breaking third set, 6-2.
The Northview duo was great at the net and simply overpowered the Patriots, who couldn't seem to keep the ball away from Stearley's racket at the net.
"My partner is great at the net," Khert said after the match. "Allison is great and I just let her take charge. This is awesome, we've worked really hard and I'm just glad that we could be rewarded (with the title)."
"Our No. 2 (doubles) girls struggled a little bit in the second set, but they played great in the third set." Goff said. "They knew how important it was to get that win."
The importance of that doubles win became even more readily apparent as Gillaspy completed her rally for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 1 singles over Melega. The Patriot will continue on in the individual state tournament.
At No. 2 doubles, Jordyn Henson was able to finish off a 6-3, 6-3 win over Rentschler.
After the match, Goff agreed that the sectional has continued to get tighter each season.
"The competition has been really high the last three years," Goff admitted. "But that's good for our program. Now our goal is to win a match at the regional."
The Knights head to the Center Grove Regional on Tuesday and will face the winner of the Franklin Central Sectional.
Northview Tennis Sectional
Northview 3, Owen Valley 2
No. 1: Adrian Gillaspy (OV) wins over Allie Melega (Nv), 2-6, 7-5, 6-3
No. 2: Jordyn Henson (OV) wins over Ali Rentschler (Nv), 6-3, 6-3
No. 3: Hannah Pond (Nv) wins over Nicole Duling (Nv), 6-2, 6-0
No. 1: Bonnie Froderman and Lauren Reberger (Nv) win over Erin Truax and Elizabeth Schney (OV), 6-1, 6-2
No. 2: Allison Stearley and Kaci Khert (Nv) win over Madeline Sego and Anita Thompson, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
Next match: Northview advances to face the winner of the Franklin Central Sectional on Tuesday at the Center Grove Regional.