The streak for consecutive State Finals continues as the Eagles qualified for State by either winning the Regional Tournament or finishing as Runner-Up for the 6th consecutive year. This year had tremendous heartbreak also, as the Eagles fell one point short of claiming their 5th Championship in the last 6 years. Out of the 8 flights competing, 1-4 Singles and 1-4 Doubles, the Eagles had 4 Flight Champions. 6 of the 8 Flights had Eagles competing for individual Regional Titles. Notably, without every flight working hard even in defeat, the team could not have earned the privilege of returning to the State Finals.
In Doubles, the Eagles nearly swept every flight, claiming 3 of 4 flight Regional titles and finishing Runner-Up in the 4th. Leading the charge at #1 Doubles saw Junior Tri-Captain Maya Barbee and Sophomore Lauren Peal crushing FHE in straight sets in about an hour. At #3 Doubles, Sophomores Grace Poortenga and Elizabeth Rupp avenged a very important loss at the Conference Tournament less than a week ago. Losing to FHE in three sets, the Eagles played 3 hard fought sets to triumph 6-1 in the 3rd over FHE before cruising to a straight set win over the #1 Seeded Cougars. At #4 Doubles, Junior Grace Maurer and recently inserted Freshman Calista Bremer claimed the Regional Title. After fighting through a shaky second match against a feisty team from Thornapple Kellogg winning in 3 sets, the Eagles upset #1 Seeded Catholic Central in straight sets. At #2 Doubles, Senior Madison Moorhead and Sophomore Dafna Heule turned in a strong performance, upsetting #2 Seeded Catholic Central with authority in straight sets before falling to top seeded FHE.
In Singles, Sophomore Ryann Breslin faced off against a familiar opponent in FHE at #2 Singles. Having lost two prior times this season with increasingly close losses, Breslin was not to be denied this time, winning the first set decisively 6-1 before closing out a very hard fought second set. At #3 Singles, Junior Tri-Captain Hannah Feng took out Thornapple Kellogg to reach the finals where she faced off against FHE. In a mentally tough match that went on and off the court for rain delays, Hannah built an early lead and won the first set before falling in three sets, losing a ridiculously close second set 7-6 (7-5 in the Tiebreak) to finish as Runner-Up. At #1 Singles, Annika Weeber faced off a familiar foe in FHE. Never one to back down from a opponent and always working her hardest, Annika lost in two tough sets to the eventual Regional Champion in FHE, who took out top seeded Catholic Central in the final. At #4 Singles, Junior Lilia Zylstra lost to the eventual Regional Champion Thornapple Kellogg who upset both the #1 and #2 seeds en route to the title.
Overall, the day was one of the longest Regional Tournaments in memory, beginning at 8AM and finishing around 7:30, with multiple rain delays and going indoors for a spell. Every member of the team did their part in competition, and this was the closest loss for a team title in recent memory. The good news is that the team is returning to the State Finals in Novi this year and based on the performances there will be many flights seeded as the team seeks to achieve their 6th straight Top 5 Finish. GO EAGLES!