At No. 3 singles, Avon substituted Maddie Jones for Kari Thrasher due to an injury suffered earlier in the week. Jones took down the Plainfield’s Arden Allen 6-4, 6-2. Allen’s tenacious play in the Quaker’ semifinal had advanced Plainfield into the finals.
Avon’s Mikala Hillis and Erin Pool took a 6-1 first set over Plainfield’s Kristen Lees and Jessie Rigdon and fell behind 3-2 in the second set before making a comeback, winning 6-3.
In No. 2 doubles, Avon’s Brittany Berg and Audrie Hillis battled Plainfield’s Bailey Jackman and Betsy Gillenwater for a 6-4 first set win before taking the second set 6-3.
Plainfield loses Koeberlein, Jackman and Gillenwater to graduation and according to Bradley; the trio will certainly be missed.
“Audrey has been a four-year varsity player and has been solid all season for us and was the deciding factor in Thursday’s match as it was the first time she had beat Mooresville’s Fitzpatrick,” Bradley said. “For our seniors at No. 2 doubles, they played their best tennis this week. For those girls to pick up a tennis racket two-and-a-half months a year and come and perform the way they did the last two matches of the season, I couldn’t be happier for the way they finished their careers.”
For Malless, who is retiring at season’s end, the victory and sectional title were sweet.
“It is awesome and for myself, it’s great,” Malless said. “Coaches say this, but I honestly can’t think of a team that I’ve felt closer to and more proud of than this one. This is probably the youngest team I’ve ever coached. They’re going to do better each year. Whoever takes over could possibly be looking at a state championship.”