INDIANAPOLIS -- Fort Wayne is going to have to wait at least another year for its first girls state tennis title.
Canterbury singles player Leah Barnes and the Bishop Dwenger doubles team of Elizabeth Maxson and Audrey Rang both lost their semifinal matches Saturday morning at the state finals at Park Tudor High School. Barnes lost to Carmel's Bailey Padgett 6-0, 6-4, and Rang and Maxson lost to Park Tudor's Hannah Klapper and Ali Levovits 6-0, 6-3.
The worst part is that as much as their opponents won, Barnes and the Saints beat themselves with unforced errors and inconsistent play. After horrible starts in the first set, both rallied in the second set to give themselves a chance but could not put away key points to force third sets.
Barnes, a sophomore, never got started in the first set, but took a 2-0 lead in the second. Despite many chances to go up 4-1, Barnes could not hit a winner and then was broken on her serve to tie the set 4-4. After Padgett held her serve for a 5-4 lead, Barnes tried to come back on her own serve, but a critical call went against her.
With the game at deuce, the chair umpire called Barnes for a foot fault, giving Padgett the advantage and she won the match on the next point.
``She made some adjustments in the second set that made it a great set,'' Canterbury coach Jerry Gerig said. ``There were a couple of opportunities that could have put Leah up 4-1 that she missed, and that kept Padgett in the set. We were trying to really mix up her shots and not get into a banging match. She led most of the set in my opinion and couldn't finish it out.''
The Saints had a similar problem as they could not hold their serves. Bishop Dwenger led the second set 2-1, but Maxson lost her serve, and Park Tudor took control. The Saints had numerous chances on break points that would have given them a chance at forcing a third set but could not put the ball away.
``It's an extremely tough team,'' Bishop Dwenger coach Jeremy Patterson said. ``They were really strong servers, and we haven't faced a doubles team that strong and that consistent. I think I underestimated the opponent today and preparing the girls for today was a little bit low on my end. They didn't look that strong yesterday watching them play. They came out and hit big, which they didn't do today and it was just a bad scouting report on my end.
They forced us to come up with big shots to win it, and we couldn't come up with them today.''
Barnes takes a 30-1 record and Rang and Maxson a 28-1 mark into this afternoon's consolation matches. Barnes will play Hamilton Southeastern's Kelly Iden, and Maxson and Rang will face Munster's Paige Heuer and Nikki Heiniger.