By Justin Whitaker
AVON — In the final match before Wednesday’s sectional, the Avon Orioles hosted the Covenant Christian Warriors.
Avon won the match in straight sets 5-0 over Covenant Christian.
The Orioles finished the season 9-4 with the convincing victory.
“It was real solid,” Avon coach Stan Malless said. “Today our doubles took care of business really well, all of my singles ended up winning. It was a good match for us going into sectionals. Covenant’s young, but they’ve improved a lot.”
Even in defeat, Covenant Christian coach John Creighton was happy with how his team battled against the tough Hoosier Crossroads Conference opponent.
“Avon is strong from top to bottom,” he said. “They are deep, they have an all-state player at No. 1 who is one of the best kids in the state. They are very strong at two and three… And both of their doubles teams know how to play.”
In No. 1 singles action, Avon freshman Grace Langford beat sophomore Ruth Guston 6-0, 6-0. In No. 2 singles action, Orioles junior Sabrina Becker beat sophomore Beth Thompson 6-3, 6-0. In No. 3 singles action, Avon sophomore Kari Thrasher beat Erika Reed 7-6 (10-8) after a shoulder injury to Reed caused her to retire.
“Erika tweaked her shoulder somewhere during that marathon set,” Creighton said.
In No. 1 doubles action, the Avon duo of senior Mikala Hillis and sophomore Erin Pool beat the Covenant seniors duo of Grace Egnolf and Carrie Wilson 6-1, 6-1. In No. 2 doubles action, the Orioles duo of junior Brittany Berg and sophomore Audrie Hillis beat the Warriors duo of sophomore Hannah Bird and junior Cassidy Wheat 6-1, 6-0.
The victory sets Avon up with some momentum after a sixth place finish at conference over the weekend headed to sectionals
“I feel really good, we’ve beaten the other teams we’ve played against but not enough to be cocky about or overconfident because Brownsburg tied us in conference,” Malless said. “This is as wide open as I think sectionals have ever been.”
Covenant Christian shares a sectional with Ben Davis, Crispus Attucks, Northwest, Ritter and Speedway.
“We’re hoping to be competitive,” Creighton said. “Our girls have made a lot of progress this year and they have a lot of promise.”
For coach Malless, who is retiring at season’s end, he’s going out with the right team.
“I’m finishing with the right team,” Malless said. “I love this team, they are really hard workers, they are a lot of fun to be around and they work their tails off in practice and matches. It’s just a good team to end my tenure with.”