Bobcats win regional titlePublished 10:34pm Thursday, May 17, 2012
SOUTH BEND — For the fourth time in the last six years, the Brandywine tennis team captured the Division 4 Regional championship at Leeper Park.
The Bobcats got wins and scoring from all eight flights as it amassed 25 points to edge Lakeland Conference foe Berrien Springs, which finished with 21 points.
Both teams advanced to the state finals June 1 in Holland. The top two teams, plus any team that finishes with 18 or more points moves on to the finals.
South Haven finished third Thursday with Dowagiac and Lake Michigan Catholic tying for fourth place.
“What makes it all the more satisfying is that we have seven new kids,” Brandywine coach Joe Marazita said. “This is a hard-working bunch of Brandywine girls. Even though you have individual flights, tennis is still a team sport and one point can make all the difference in the world.
“It was great for us to sweep the doubles. Jessica Blank really stepped up and finished second at No. 1 singles. The whole team stepped up as all eight of our flights contributed wins and points to our regional championship.”
Of the four doubles champions, Marazita may be most proud of his No. 1 team of Jessy Cooper and Rachel Gipson.
“Those kids played No. 3 doubles last year and jumped all the way up to No. 1,” he said. “I am so proud of them.”
Cooper and Gipson defeated Lake Michigan Catholic’s Meghan Landeck and Brooke Walsh 6-0 and 6-4.
The Bobcats also got titles from Alissa Gamble and Caitlyn Cummins, Carlie Newman and Mackenzie Shelton, along with Cassidy Purucker and Abbey Cole.
Gamble and Cummins defeated Ashley Kruck and Genny Westendorp of Berrien Springs, 6-2, 6-2; Newman and Shelton defeated Kara Gaideski and Michelle Keene of Dowagiac, 6-1, 6-2; and Purucker and Cole defeated Shannon Kelley and Skylar Austell of South Haven, 6-0 and 6-1.
Marazita said that a strong schedule and a solid performance at the Lakeland Conference Tournament the previous week were keys to their success Thursday.
“On our schedule this year, 14 out of the 20 schools were bigger than us,” he said. “That was exactly the type of challenge we needed to prepare for conference and regionals.
“It gave Richard (Robbins) and I, along with the team the confidence we needed because we had five flights that were in the finals at conference. Four of those matches could have gone either way. So we knew if we could perform the same way today, and if our singles could step it up, we could win the regional.”
Brandwine, which has just one senior in the line-up, will be making its seventh trip to the state finals in the past nine years.
Division 4 Tennis Regional
At Leeper Park, South Bend
1. Brandywine 25; 2. Berrien Springs 21; 3. South Haven 14; 4. (tie) Dowagiac and Lake Michigan Catholic 10; 6. Buchanan 9; 7. Constantine 7; 8. Bridgman 6; 9. Coloma 5; 10. Eau Claire 1; 11. Cassopolis 0
1. Arien Kissinger (Berrien Springs) d. Jessica Blank (Brandywine) 6-2, 6-4; 2. Yasmin Benjelloun (Berrien Springs) d. Melyssa Rodgers (South Haven) 6-1, 6-1; 3. Abby Hoge (Berrien Springs) d. Rebecca Barta (Lake Michigan Catholic) 6-2, 6-1; 4. Hannah MacDonald (Dowagiac) d. Mackenzie Holets (Berrien Springs) 6-1, 6-2
1. Jessy Cooper-Rachel Gipson (Brandywine) d. Meghan Landeck-Brooke Walsh (Lake Michigan Catholic) 6-0, 6-4; 2. Alissa Gamble-Caitlyn Cummins (Brandywine) d. Ashley Kruck-Genny Westendorp (Berrien Springs) 6-2, 6-2; 3. Carlie Newman-Mackenzie Shelton (Brandywine) d. Kara Gaideski-Michelle Keene (Dowagiac) 6-1, 6-2; 4. Cassidy Purucker-Abbey Cole (Brandywine) d. Shannon Kelley-Skylar Austell (South Haven) 6-0, 6-1