Clarkston junior Lexi Baylis hits a backhand during her semifinal victory over Farmington Hills Mercy's Winnie Karoub Friday at a Division 1 regional at Rochester High School. Baylis won the match and went on to claim the No. 1 singles championship. (The Oakland Press/VAUGHN GURGANIAN)
Tennis - Girls
GIRLS TENNIS: Clarkston, Mercy rule the day at D1 tennis regional WITH VIDEO
West Bloomfield's Raven Neely winds up for a backhand during her No. 1 singles semifinal match against Rochester Adams' Halle Hyman. Neely won the match, 6-2, 6-3. (The Oakland Press/VAUGHN GURGANIAN)
Farmington Hills Mercy's Winnie Karoub hits a forehand during her regional semifinal match against Clarkston's Lexi Baylis Friday. Karoub and her Marlin teammates finished runner-up and advanced to the Division 1 state finals. (The Oakland Press/VAUGHN GURGANIAN)
ROCHESTER HILLS — Having won a state title two years ago and been so close to the top just last season, you’d think it would take a lot to excite the Clarkston tennis team.
But the Wolves performance at a loaded Division 1 regional Friday at Rochester High School was enough to do the trick.
“I’m amazed,” Clarkston coach Becky Freeman said. “To have all eight flights make it (to the finals), it was an entire team effort. Everybody contributed, everyone scored three or four points. That’s amazing.”
The Wolves won four flight championships, totaling 28 team points to win the regional championship. Clarkston dominated in singles, where Lexi Baylis, Isabella Spindler and Dana Olsen took home titles at 1-2-3. Katie Hubregsen finished runner-up at No. 4 singles.
Baylis topped West Bloomfield’s Raven Neely, 6-0, 1-6, 7-5, in a terrific final at No. 1 singles. The junior broke Neely, trailing 5-4 in the third set, then took the final two games to close out the match. It was her third win of the season over Neely, and certainly the closest of the three encounters.
Spindler did not lose a set all day, as she beat West Bloomfield’s Aerielle Pendleton, 6-2, 7-5, in the No. 2 final. Pendleton beat Spindler a week ago at the OAA Red Tournament.
Olsen did not drop a set, either, as she defeated a familiar opponent herself in the final – West Bloomfield’s Sara Cahn. In each of her previous two matches with Cahn, Olsen needed three sets to pick up the win. On Friday, she won the final, 6-0, 6-2.
”(Cahn) is a really good player and it felt really good to have such a good score against her,” Olsen said. “I feel like I was serving really good today and I was hitting the ball really clean. I had a bad week last week and it felt good coming back and know that I can pick up my game and improve.”
Clarkston’s top doubles team of Paige Olsen and Alex Whall continued its dominant play this season, defeating West Bloomfield’s Gillian Meyers and Sammy Dean in the No. 1 final, 6-2, 6-2. The pair is undefeated on the year and should get the top-seed at the Division 1 finals.
Farmington Hills Mercy finished runner-up, taking home four flight championships of its own and scoring 24 points. Jessie Guindi won at No. 4 singles, defeating Hubregsen, 6-0, 6-0. She did not drop a game all day. Her win helped the Marlins score 10 points in singles. The team scored 14 in doubles.
Coach Joe Stafford’s team lost just nine total games en route to winning regional championships at Nos. 2-3-4 doubles. Anna Hinrichs and Kathy Lowrance – who was filling in for regular Mackenzie Zierau – defeated Clarkston’s MacKenzie Bedor and Monique Zentner, 6-1, 6-1, in the No. 2 doubles final.
“Kathy stepped in and not only did she fill in admirably for Mackenzie, she walks away as a regional champion,” Stafford said. “That speaks to the depth of our team. But that’s been the story all year. Everybody steps up and supports each other.”
Mercy’s three- and four-doubles teams displayed that depth, as Christy Snyder and Julia Shaw beat Clarkston in the No. 3 final, and Julie Flanagan and Sarah Hinrichs did the same to their Wolves counterparts at No. 4. Snyder and Shaw defeated Amy Brozovich and Jordan Stuart, 6-4, 6-1, while Flanagan and Hinrichs beat Mackenzie Sowers and Caitlin McCaghy, 6-1, 6-1.
“I’m very excited for the Mercy girls,” said Stafford, whose team is ranked No. 4 in Division 1. “I thought they came to play. They were great on the court, great off the court. To walk away with four flight championships, that was a home run for us, in what I thought was the toughest regional in the state.”
West Bloomfield, behind the strong play of Neely, Pendleton, Cahn, Meyers and Dean, finished third with 19 team points. The Lakers also qualified out for the Division 1 state finals, which will be held in Midland on May 31-June 1.
Rochester Adams finished fourth with 10 points, followed by Rochester (9), Lake Orion (8), Stoney Creek (7), Oxford (3), Royal Oak (1), Waterford Kettering (1) and Waterford Mott (0).
Jason Schmitt covers girls tennis for The Oakland Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, read his "In The Zone" blog here and follow our high school tennis coverage on Twitter @JasonESchmitt.
DIVISION 1 REGIONAL
TEAM SCORES — Clarkston 28, Farmington Hills Mercy 24, West Bloomfield 19, Rochester Adams 10, Rochester 9, Lake Orion 8, Stoney Creek 7, Oxford 3, Royal Oak 1, Waterford Kettering 1, Waterford Mott 0
CHAMPIONSHIP SINGLES — 1. Lexi Baylis (C) d. Raven Neely (WB) 6-0, 1-6, 7-5; 2. Isabella Spindler (C) d. Aerielle Pendleton (WB) 6-2, 7-5; 3. Dana Olsen (C) d. Sara Cahn (WB) 6-0, 6-2; 4. Jessie Guindi (FHM) d. Katie Hubregsen (C) 6-0, 6-0
CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLES — 1. Paige Olsen-Alex Whall (C) d. Gillian Meyers-Sammy Dean (WB) 6-2, 6-2; 2. Anna Hinrichs-Kathy Lowrance (FHM) d. MacKenzie Bedor-Monique Zentner (C) 6-1, 6-1; 3. Christy Snyder-Julia Shaw (FHM) d. Amy Brozovich-Jordan Stuart (C) 6-4, 6-1; 4. Julie Flanagan-Sarah Hinrichs (FHM) d. Mackenzie Sowers-Caitlin McCaghy (C) 6-1, 6-1