Tennis regional roundup: Keeping crowned champ; Armada, Northern extend streaks
For the third year in a row, the Port Huron Northern and Armada girls tennis teams advanced to their respective State Finals tournaments after a successful day in last week’s regionals. Yale’s Emilia Brand and Imlay City’s Emma Keeping will advance as individuals as well.
Here are some of the top finishers:
In Region 6, Port Huron Northern had two regional champions, No. 2 singles Addison Lyons and No. 3 singles Amara Makim, as well as two regional runner-up finishes from No. 2 doubles Grace Goldman and Kate VanHowe and No. 3 doubles Ella Beck and Sophie Harris.
Joining them at next weekend’s Division 1 State Finals in Holland, Michigan, will be No. 1 singles Lily VanHowe, No. 4 singles Avery Witter, No. 1 doubles Phoebe Muir and Ashlyn Kinney, and No. 4 doubles Lexi Hepting and Alena Anderson.
The Huskies finished tied for second at the regional with Stoney Creek, each with 20 points. Eisenhower was the overall champion with 27 points. During the regular season, Northern finished as runner-up to Eisenhower within the MAC-Red with a league record of 3-1.
Last year, the Huskies brought seven sophomores, three freshmen, one junior, and one senior to the State Finals. They scored 10 points to finish ninth overall, improving on the team's 2021 four-point finish. With so many returning this year, they're bound to do even bigger things.
Region 21 welcomed several teams from the Blue Water Area: Armada, Yale, Croswell-Lexington, St. Clair, Marysville, and Almont.
After placing second to Yale in conference play, the Armada Tigers managed to top the Bulldogs in the regional, scoring 17 points to take second overall and punch their ticket to their third consecutive State Finals.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep won overall with a perfect score of 32, claiming regional titles in each of the eight flights. Brand, however, finished as regional runner-up at No. 1 singles to snag a solo spot at the Finals. She defeated Armada’s Shelby Philion, who missed out on the BWAC tournament while recovering from injury, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinal. Brand then lost to Notre Dame Prep 6-0, 6-1 in the championship match.
And while the Cros-Lex Pioneers placed fourth overall in the region, they did bring home a pair of runner-up finishes from No. 2 singles Alleyna Martinez and No. 3 singles Abby Cooper.
Along with Brand, Emily Fisher and Grace Kecskes finished as runner-up at No. 1 doubles after topping Armada’s Meya Drob and Anna Reschke in a close semifinal match (7-6, 4-6, 6-3) to help the Bulldogs to a third-place total of 13 points.
At No. 4 doubles, St. Clair’s Savannah Phillips and Maya Lambert stayed alive after a close three-set match in the second round to go on to finish as the flight’s runner-up, falling to Notre Dame Prep 6-3, 6-3.
Armada captured the remaining top spots with runner-up finishes from No. 4 singles Aitana Gonzalez, No. 2 doubles Grace Rangel and Jane Noch, and No. 3 doubles Allie Davis and Abbey Huston.
Armada’s No. 2 singles Mellany Hall, No. 3 singles, Abby Nickel, and No. 4 doubles Keegan Brumley and Lyndsie Naniewicz will fill in the team's remaining spots at next week’s Division 3 State Finals in Ann Arbor.
And the lone representative from the Blue Water Area at the Divsion 4 State Finals will be Keeping of Imlay City, whose impressive freshman campaign isn’t over just yet. She led her team, which placed fourth in Region 29 with 12 points, as the regional champion.
Keeping had a first-round bye, then went on to win her next two matches 6-0, 6-0 and 6-4, 6-4. Her final match of the day was against Sacred Heart senior Eve Jackson, and it was a tight, three-set match: 6-0, 1-6, 6-3.
Keeping now boasts a 14-2 record, with her only two losses coming from Brand within league play. She’ll look to improve her record at the Division 4 State Finals next weekend in Kalamazoo.
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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