Winning a sectional championship a year ago was such a thrill for Fishers’ girls tennis team, the Tigers devoted themselves to fighting through injury and illness to experience it again Saturday.
The Tigers battled a familiar foe in Hamilton Southeastern, and for the third time this season, Fishers came out on top, this time 4-1.
“We had played HSE twice this season and felt pretty comfortable knowing how they play,” senior Olivia Ruthsatz said. “We just went out and played our game, and played well and won. We are pretty happy.”
She partnered with Ellen Hornett to form the No. 1 doubles team. They earned Fishers’ second win of the morning by taking their match 6-3, 6-2 over Maddie Ochs and Mallory Noble. Ruthsatz was one of two Tigers injured while playing powder-puff football in the fall. During that game, she suffered a tear to her left anterior cruciate ligament, which required surgery.
“Every day I did rehab at the school with the trainer,” Ruthsatz said. “It has been a long journey, and I am glad that I am here now and able to play.”
Kailey Eaton, Fishers’ No. 1 singles player, also suffered an injury in that fall game. Her injury was not a factor at this point in the season, Fishers coach Don Roesler said.
“We have made a rule that our girls will not be playing that anymore,” Roesler said. “It was a big worry in the beginning of the season that my No. 1 singles and one of my No. 1 doubles players both got hurt. We were blessed with the healing process.”
With the first three matches decided and Fisher up 2-1, the championship came down to the No. 2 doubles match and the No. 3 singles. Fishers needed to win just one to secure the title, as both went to a third set.
“I did not want to let up and I wanted this season to be the best,” No. 2 doubles player Jayne Henn said. “I tried to not let the pressure get to me.”
Henn and fellow senior Madi Mason used their senior experience to pull out the victory, 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 over Kelsy Hay and Kelsey Cahlamer.
“We’re especially proud of our No. 2 doubles that pulled through,” Roesler said. “Our girls stepped up today and won. That was huge.”
That win secured the Tigers back-to-back sectional titles in the school’s seven-year history.
Sophomores Caitlin Gardner, who was nearly scratched from the event with an illness, along with Jessica Lorenz, who improved to 17-0, captured the other two Fishers wins.
Senior Kelly Iden earned the lone HSE victory by taking down Eaton 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.
The Tigers advance to the North Central Regional.