Published on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 10:28
by Ryan Schwab
WATERLOO - With three wins in three nights, the Carroll Girls Tennis Team has set themselves up for a potential program first.
Northeast Hoosier Conference victories over DeKalb (4-1 on Wednesday), Bellmont (5-0 on Thursday), and East Noble (5-0 on Friday) leave the Lady Chargers with a perfect 5-0 record in NHC play with two matches remaining. Carroll has never won the NHC in Girls Tennis, Homestead's dominance over Carroll being the common denominator. Homestead has never lost a match to Carroll in the history of their rivalry.
"We had a talk about it," admitted Lady Charger Head Coach Kyle Stoffel. "I let them know that it has never been done before. That is all that needs to be said. I am not going to harp on it. Sometimes if you stress something too much you add extra pressure."
The win over DeKalb on Wednesday night was fairly tight early.
Midway through the first set, Carroll led on three of the five courts, which can be a dangerous situation against a Lady Baron team that is traditionally competitive, despite having graduated five from last year's starting seven.
Carroll junior Ashley Hoagland trailed 3-1 in the first set of her two singles match against Kelsey Helmkamp, but won 11 straight games to win her match and end any DeKalb hope of an upset.
"At the beginning, I was hitting too hard and it wasn't really working for me," explained Hoagland. "I just started to slow it down, get more consistent, and hit it down the middle a little more. I wanted to win, so I tried my hardest and didn't lose a game after. I don't really like to lose."
Hoagland's win, coupled with straight set wins from sophomore Rachel Sutton at one singles and both doubles teams earned Carroll the road win.
"(Hoagland) was rushing a little and was hitting a little harder on her serve and a little harder on her groundstrokes. When she is doing that she will make mistakes and she hardly ever makes mistakes," said Coach Stoffel. "She needed to be more conservative. When she was, she started to play well. Then she started to hit the ball harder again because she felt better since she hadn't made mistakes in a while."
Olivia Martin won at three singles for the Lady Barons, who suffered their first NHC loss.
Carroll went on to win all five matches in straight sets against Bellmont on Thursday and junior Catherine Curtis needed a third set to preserve a 5-0 win over East Noble on Friday.
"We just take things one match one at a time, but we are always preparing for Homestead and Bishop Dwenger and (rival) teams like that," Hoagland added. "We have never won an NHC title, so to win each of these matches is a big deal for us."
Both the DeKalb and East Noble matches were make-ups of rainouts from the week prior, which Coach Stoffel says has helped his team stay focused from match-to-match, thus preventing them from looking ahead to Homestead.
"They are levelheaded enough to take things a match at a time," Coach Stoffel said. "With all the rainouts and having to pack all these matches (into the end of the schedule), I don't think everyone has a solid grasp on what is going on, what nights we play, and who we are playing. It is starting to blend together and in a way, that helps take your mind off (the Homestead) match a little."
Carroll's record now sits at 11-2 overall, with both losses coming in close 3-2 matches, heading into the final week of the season.
Homestead and Carroll met last night (5/8) at Homestead High School and the Lady Chargers close out NHC play on Thursday when they host Columbia City.
Saturday, Carroll will play in the North Central Invitational and will also play Delta for the Championship of the Delta Invitational, which was rained out on Saturday, April 28.
Sectional play begins next Wednesday at Carroll High School.
Carroll junior Ashley Hoagland returns a serve during Wednesday's match with DeKalb. Carroll defeated DeKalb 4-1 to remain perfect in Northeast Hoosier Conference play.