Three members of the Maumee Valley girls tennis team will compete in the state tournament, which begins Friday at Ohio State's Stickney Tennis Center.
Anita Dewan earned her third straight trip to the tournament, including her second consecutive singles appearance, by finishing third in the district finals held at Port Clinton Saturday. Meanwhile the doubles tandem of Jenny Pesin and Sonya Naganathan also earned a berth in the tournament by placing second in last weekend's district meet.
Dewan, who opens state tournament play against Gabby Steele of Cincinnati Summit Country Day, said returning to that tournament served as inspiration for her senior year.
"When you've been to states before, obviously that becomes the expectation," she said. "That was a huge motivating factor,
especially in districts; I had to get back there."
A senior, Dewan needed to win her consolation final match against Archbold's Haley Sauder to earn the state berth. Dewan won that match 7-5, 6-2, and gave much of the credit to her experience in the state tournament.
"By going [to the state tournament] the last two years, I think I knew how to play the matches better in districts," Dewan said. "In pressure situations I think I handled it better. I knew what I needed to do, and I knew how important it was for me to get back to where I was last year.
"I think playing in the state tournament has prepared me to play the bigger points better. Once you get into districts, you play better players. You need to be better able to step up and play the big matches."
Pesin and Naganathan earned their trip to the state tournament by reaching the district finals. The senior pair will open against Blair Williams and Hillary Landon of Columbus School for Girls.
Pesin will by playing in the state tournament for the second time. The first came when she was paired with Dewan in doubles two years ago.
"I'm really excited to be going back," Pesin said. "I guess I've had some experience because I've been there, but I think Sonya [Naganathan] and I will pull together well. Our games mesh well."
Naganathan will play in the state tournament for the first time this weekend.
"I thought it was a nice way to cap off my tennis career," Naganathan said. "I started playing when I was 7, but then I stopped for a while. Then I started back when I was a freshman. I feel I've progressed over the years, and this is a nice way to end it."
The two seniors lost in the district finals to sisters Kate and Torrie Goudy of Galion, and both players said the opportunity to face one of the top Division II doubles teams in the state was a good one.
"The other team is a really good team," Naganathan said of the Goudys. "We went out there trying to see how many games we could get off them. That made it easier to play - we had nothing to lose."
Pesin said knowing she and Naganathan had secured a state berth took the stress out of that final match.
"We were relieved to know after our first match that we would be going to states," Pesin said.
HONORED: Former Archbold coach Char Sharp recently received the Mac Morrison Lifetime Service Award from the Northwest District Athletic Board.
Sharp, who came to Archbold in 1966, is credited with starting and administering the Blue Streaks' girls athletic program. At different times in her career she served as the school's coach in volleyball, basketball, softball and track.
Still active as a volleyball official in the area, Sharp is a member of the Ohio Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame and was an inaugural member of the Archbold Athletic Hall of Fame.
EAGLES FLYING HIGH: The Toledo Christian volleyball team finished an undefeated season with a pair of nonleague wins Saturday against Stryker and Evergreen.
As a result, the Eagles enter tournament play next Tuesday with a 22-0 overall mark. They also claimed the Toledo Area Athletic Conference volleyball title with a 10-0 mark.
Toledo Christian has claimed three league titles this fall: along with the volleyball crown, the Eagles finished first in the TAAC in boys cross country and boys soccer.
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