By Terry Jacoby/weloveannarbor.com
Every serve, volley and backhand count. Every game, set and match are important. And the Pioneer girls’ tennis team not only learned all that but needed every point they could get in a successful defense of their MHSAA Division 1 State Finals.
The Pioneers finished the two-day tournament on Friday with 33 points, just one point better than runner-up Bloomfield Hills to win their second straight D-1 title at Kalamazoo College & Western Michigan University. Troy was third with 22 points, followed by Midland Dow (15), Novi (14) and Northville (13).
Skyline finished tied for 15th place with 10 points. Huron finished with one point.
All four singles players for Pioneer were top seeds at the State Finals and all four ended up as champions. Three of the four players will be back next year for Coach Tom Pullen’s team. Pioneer also was seeded second in two doubles matches and third and fourth in the other two.
Pioneer’s Reese Miller won her second consecutive state finals at one singles. Only a junior, Miller cruised to the finals without losing a set and defeated Nicole Fu of Rochester Adams 6-1, 6-1 in the championship match.
Pioneer sophomore Elsie Van Wieren was close to perfect on the day at two singles. She coasted into the championship match where she defeated Laura Leiti of Midland Dow 6-0, 6-3. Skyline’s Maddie Slade drew a bye, then won her second-round match before falling 6-1, 6-0 to Amritha Yelleti of Troy.
At three singles, Mia Goldstein was in control throughout the two days. The senior won the title with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Bloomfield Hills’ Grace Shaya in the championship match.
Bridgette Kelly ran into the toughest opponent of the four Pioneer singles players and won a key match in the championship game. Only a sophomore, Kelly won the first game 6-4 over Julia Yousif of Bloomfield Hills in the finals. She then lost the second game 2-6 before taking the match 6-3 and help send her team into the top spot.
Pioneer’s one doubles team of senior Ashley Capelli and junior Juliana Pullen reached the semifinals before falling to the team from Troy 6-4, 6-2. Huron’s team of junior Julianne Cucos and freshman Katherine Ma and Skyline’s duo of Cate Weiser and Vivian Li both lost in the first round.
Pioneer’s two doubles team of sophomore Mia Berens and freshman Natalie Guo reached the semis before falling 7-6(5), 6-3 to the team from Troy. Skyline’s duo of Elise Stevens and Ella Rosewarne won a first-round match before falling 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 to the team from Utica Eisenhower. Huron’s team of Mia Wamsteker and Julia Caird lost a first-round match.
At three doubles, Pioneer’s team of senior Aditi Ganesan and sophomore Eleanor Vogel reached the championship match before falling 6-3, 6-0 to the duo from Bloomfield Hills. Skyline’s team of sophomore Isabella Somers and senior Lauren Lee won a first-round match before falling 6-0, 6-0 to Bloomfield Hills. Huron’s duo of Neha Gundala and Maya Fu lost in the first round.
Pioneer’s four doubles team of senior Chloe Warren and freshman Arella He reached the semifinals where they fell 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 to the team from Troy. Huron’s team of Ana Wilkins and Rumei Zha won the first-round match but lost 6-4, 6-2 to the duo from Novi. Skyline’s doubles team of Edan Dietz and Lucy Stoy won their first-round match but lost 6-0, 6-0 to the tandem from Troy.