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South Bend St. Joseph defeats Fishers

ZIONSVILLE – Fishers coach Dave Heffern has had a lot of success during his coaching career at the IHSAA tennis state championships.

He led Park Tudor to 12 state titles (six girls and six boys) and now, at Fishers, Heffern is building a new state power.

However, on Saturday his girls team found out that it is not there yet.

After knocking off undefeated Franklin 4-1 in the morning semifinals, the second-place Tigers finished second for the second time in three years, this time falling to South Bend St. Joseph 3- 2.

The title match was played indoors at the Pearson Automotive Tennis Club. The morning semifinals were played at North Central High School in Indianapolis before rain forced the move indoors.

“We have five seniors on this team and we were in the state finals two years ago,” Heffern said, referring to a 5-0 loss to rival Carmel in 2022. “This year I thought we had a better chance, but Saint Joep is really good.”

Especially in the singles places.

The top-ranked Huskies scored outright victories in two and three singles matches, then won the match when former individual state champion Molly Bellia scored a 6-1, 6-3 victory over junior Mischa Briggs to reach the match ahead of Saint Joe.

“The match went exactly as I expected,” Heffern said. “Saint Joe is so good at doubles and three singles, so we knew we had to win in both doubles and (Briggs) is one of the top players in the state.

“We were good (Saturday), but not quite good enough.”

Fishers picked up the first point of the match when Emma Beehler and Meredith Ober scored two doubles on that run for a 6-0, 6-0 win. Beehler and Ober finished the season at 14-0.

As expected, the Huskies (22-1) roared back on top, No. 2 singles Ashi Amalnathan picking up a 6-0, 6-1 win over Madelyn Barron, before Amalnathan’s sister, junior Anni Amalnathan notched a 6-1, 6-1 . 3 win over Izzy Ireland at number 3.

Bellia and Briggs finished next to give Saint Joe the win.

For the record, the Fishers single-double duo of Cassie Maurer and Caroline Ober posted a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win to complete the 3-2 scoreline.

The Tigers (19-1) advanced from the semifinals, winning at one and three singles and both doubles spots.

Bellia was declared the winner of the Mental Attitude Award after the championship match. She won the individual state title as a freshman in 2021 and finished second last season. She was eliminated from the individual tournament after losing to Harrison’s Emma Gu in three sets in the morning semifinal.

IHSAA GIRLS TENNIS STATES FINAL RESULTS

(At Pearson Automotive Tennis Club, Zionsville)

LAST

SOUTH BEND SAINT JOSEPH 3, FISHING 2

SINGLES – 1. Molly Bellia (SJ) d. Mischa Briggs, 6-1, 6-3; Ashi Amalnathan (SJ) d. Madelyn Barron, 6-0, 6-1; 3. Anni Amalnathan (SJ) d. Izzy Ireland, 6-1, 6-3.

DOUBLES – 1. Cassie Maurer-Caroline Ober (F) d. Dani Graham-Libby Yergler, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2; 2. Emma Beehler-Meredith Ober (F) d. Anna Walsh-Ella Michaels, 6-0, 6-0.

Archive: Sint-Joseph 22-1; Fishers 19-1.

SEMI FINALS

At North Central High School, Indianapolis*

SOUTH BEND SAINT JOSEPH 4, HARRISON 1

SINGLES – 1. Emma Gu (H) d. Molly Bellia, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 *(Due to rain, match will be moved to Pearson Automotive Tennis Club, Noblesville); 2. Ashi Amalnathan d. Madison Evans, 6-0, 6-0; 3. Anni Amalnathan d. Bella Maynard, 6-0, 6-0.

DOUBLES – 1. Dani Graham-Libby Yergler d. Aubrey York-Ella York, 7-6 (4), 6-1; 2. Ella Michaels-Anna Walsh d. Elliot Flanery-Sara Wang, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

Records: Harrison finishes 20-3.

PISCES 4, FRANKLIN 1

SINGLES – 1. Mischa Briggs (F) d. Rylie Wilkison, 6-1, 6-0; 2. Marnie Moore (F) d. Madelyn Barron, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2; 3. Izzy Ireland (F) d. Chelsie Rayl, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

DOUBLES – 1. Cassie Maurer-Caroline Ober (F) d. Katie Pinnick-Kennedy Urban, 6-1, 6-0; 2. Emma Beehler-Meredith Ober (F) d. Meleah Murphy-Emma Sappenfeld, 6-1, 6-3.

Records: Franklin finishes 27-1.