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Published: Sunday, 10/23/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Ottawa Hills duo finishes 4th in state

Rumpf-Bhatt fall in Division II semifinal; St. Ursula's Shaffer takes third in D-I singles

BY JARROD ULREY
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE
Ottawa Hills' Shivani Bhatt, front, and Nancy Rumpf receive their state fourth-place medals. Ottawa Hills' Shivani Bhatt, front, and Nancy Rumpf receive their state fourth-place medals.
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PLAIN CITY -- The Ottawa Hills doubles team of Nancy Rumpf and junior Shivani Bhatt got more than they bargained for during the Division II state tennis tournament at the Elysium Tennis Center.

During each of the first two rounds Friday, Rumpf and Bhatt rallied for victories after losing the first set.

Although they couldn't continue the trend during a 6-3, 6-4 semifinal loss to Shaker Heights Laurel's Alison Biltz and Danielle Buchinsky in a semifinal Saturday, they weren't disappointed with their overall showing.

Rumpf and Bhatt lost to Pepper Pike Orange's Amy Smedira and Adrian Young 6-1, 6-4 to finish fourth.

Also losing in a state semifinal was St. Ursula freshman Kennedy Shaffer, who finished third in Division I singles.

"[Winning two state matches] was a surprise," Bhatt said. "We weren't expecting it at all. We just had a lot of teamwork and wanted it. Both of our first two matches we lost the first set but came back. We did a good job of not getting down and playing well in the third set."

It was the second state appearance for Bhatt and the first for Rumpf. Bhatt advanced as a freshman with her older sister, Arohi Bhatt, in 2009 and lost in the first round in Division II doubles.

Drew Fillis, who lost in a second-round state singles match Friday, played first singles for Ottawa Hills during the regular season. Shivani Bhatt played second singles and Rumpf was at third singles.

"It feels really good to be [at state]," Rumpf said. "Last year I didn't get past district. We just came out and were fired up. [The Laurel doubles team] was just consistent and kept the ball in play and we just made too many errors. It was a fun experience."

After winning her first two state matches in straight sets, Shaffer lost to Cincinnati Ursuline's Mehvish Safdar 6-3, 6-3 in a semifinal. She was awarded third when her consolation opponent, Westlake's Lauren Golick, defaulted because of an injury.

St. Ursula freshman Kennedy Shaffer returns a shot during quarter final action at the Elysium Tennis Center, Plain City, Ohio.  Shaffer eventually placed 3rd in the Division I singles at the Ohio High School Athletic Associations 36th Annual Girls State Tennis Championships on Saturday. St. Ursula freshman Kennedy Shaffer returns a shot during quarter final action at the Elysium Tennis Center, Plain City, Ohio. Shaffer eventually placed 3rd in the Division I singles at the Ohio High School Athletic Associations 36th Annual Girls State Tennis Championships on Saturday.
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Shaffer finished with a 23-1 record this season.

"Mehvish is just a really tough player who plays amazing defense, and she's just an all-around player," Shaffer said.

"I thought I had the right game plan, but maybe I could have played a little better. The next three [years] I play I'm planning to win state at least once."

St. Ursula coach Mary Kay Kinder believes Shaffer has a bright future at the state level.

"I thought Kennedy battled [Safdar] very well," Kinder said. "[Safdar] just took control of the match. The thing about Kennedy that's special is that she's always mentally in a match and never feels defeated, and physically she was ready for this match.

"As a freshman, she came in and wanted to do well and win it. I told her that it's tough as a freshman because you don't have as much experience, but that never really stopped her."



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