LINCOLN — It was Omaha Skutt against Elkhorn South, the powerhouses of Class B tennis, on the farthest back indoor court of the Nebraska Tennis Center on Thursday.
To see the singles match, you had to ignore the 15 other matches going on simultaneously, duck and walk in the dark behind canvas and then sit on the edge of a concrete block foundation. But some Skutt and Elkhorn South faithful knew the importance and ventured to the far end.
Caroline Friedman of Skutt broke service in each set and defeated Kathleen Thomas of Elkhorn South 6-4, 6-4 in No. 2 singles. The victory kept the SkyHawks, undefeated on the day with the semifinals and finals remaining Friday, in the driver's seat for their sixth Class B title in seven years.
“It was a huge match, swinging things one way or the other,” Skutt coach Sheryl Vaughn said. “She (Friedman) has one of those competitive minds.”
Skutt led in team standings, 36-34 over Elkhorn South. Omaha Duchesne was third with 26.
“We need some help now,” Storm coach Steve Bischof said. “As close as it is, it wouldn't have to be a lot.”
It was the only loss of the day for Elkhorn South, which broke Skutt's string of five straight state titles last year and returned every player from that state tournament squad.
Skutt's Friedman, the defending champion in No. 2 singles, used a powerful serve against Thomas. The two played to a tiebreaker earlier this season. Friedman said the previous match was the closest of her 26 wins.
“This was a big match,” Friedman said. “Elkhorn South is our toughest rival. A lot depended on the match.”
Friedman said she was nervous before settling down.
“Then, I just played my own game,” she said.
Two-time defending No. 1 singles champion Kathryn Carlson of Duchesne breezed through three matches and will meet second-seeded Teresa Kaiser, a Skutt freshman, in the semifinals. Kaiser never gave up a point in winning all three of her matches 6-0, 6-0.
Elkhorn South's Hylan Miller, last year's runner-up in No. 1 singles, won handily in three matches.
“I've worked really hard and I'm ready to go,” said Miller after her third victory. “It's not that I have major strengths in my game, but I don't really have major weaknesses.”
Semifinal matches will begin at 9 a.m. Friday and finals and consolation matches will begin at 1 p.m.
Team scoring: Omaha Skutt 36, Elkhorn South 34, Omaha Duchesne 26, Grand Island Central Catholic 22, Kearney Catholic 22, McCook 22, Holdrege, 20, Ogallala 18, Lincoln Pius X 16, Norris 14, Gretna 12, Hastings 10, York 10, Elkhorn 8, Lexington 8, Omaha Gross 8, Scottsbluff 8, Beatrice 6, Lincoln Christian 6, Adams Central 4, Hastings St. Cecilia 4, South Sioux City 4, Blair 2, Crete 2, Wilber-Clatonia 2, Alliance 0, Hershey 0, Nebraska City 0, Omaha Brownell-Talbot 0, Omaha Roncalli 0, Ralston 0.
Individual results: Quarterfinals: No. 1 singles: Hylan Miller, ES, def. Ashley Tabor, Waverly, 6-1, 6-1. Reinette Strydom, Holdrege, def., Katie Brand, GICC, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2. Kathryn Carlson, Duchesne, def. Brooklyn Trew, McCook, 6-4, 6-0. Teresa Kaiser, Skutt, def., Madeline Holscher, Scottsbluff, 6-0, 6-0. No. 2 singles:Caroline Friedman, Skutt, def. Kathleen Thomas, ES, 6-4, 6-4. Morgan Stute, def. Bridget McKeegan, LPX, 6-3, 6-1. Delaney Sweet, Duchesne, def. Kaley Hodgen, HSC, 6-1, 6-1. Addie Litterick, Beatrice, def. Alexandra Rieke, GICC, 6-1, 6-1. No. 1 doubles: Tiffany Hottman and Emily Fink, ES, def. Kaleigh Berg and Emma Schroer, Ogallala, 6-2, 6-3. Kaylee Samway and Kassidy Gillen, McCook, def. Stephanie Beyea and Emily Zapotocny, Gretna, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Lauren Messbarger and Shayla Conner, Kearney Catholic, def. Sydney Landell and Maddison McConnaughhay, Hastings, 6-1, 6-2. Emilee Johnson and Stephanie Kaiser, Skutt, def. Christina Stai and Brianna Petersen, Norris, 6-1, 6-0. No. 2 doubles: Lauren Camenzind and Bianca Lowe, Skutt, def. Dana Grenfell and Sydney York, York, 6-0, 6-1. Rachel Kammer and Mallory Placek, ES, def. Ann Essay and Madison Lockhorn, LPX, 6-2, 6-1. Kelsey Flaherty and Jessica Wiens, GICC, def. Emily Knuth and Anna Knuth, Duchesne, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. Elizabeth McQuillan and Laramie Schlichtemeier, Ogallala, def. Darcy Benjamin and Kelby O'Meara, Lexington, 6-1, 6-1.
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