Troy’s Niemi, Short defend sectional doubles title; Rogers, Turnbull advance to district as well


TROY — The results may have been the same for the Troy doubles team of Elizabeth Niemi and Nina Short at the Troy D-I sectional this year.

But, the level of play was much different.

The duo defended their D-I sectional title with ease, topping fourth seed Morgan Britton and Katelin Peyton of Vandalia-Butler 6-1, 6-3 and second seeded Kennedi Robinson and Makayla Hibbard of Northmont 6-0, 6-2 in the championship match.

“The difference in their level of play this year is like night and day from last year,” Troy girls tennis coach Mark Goldner said. “The way they worked together and talked on the court. Their communication. It was so much better than last year. They played incredible.”

The girls, who play singles during the season, felt a different comfort level as well.

“It just felt like the communication was a lot better,” Short said.

Niemi agreed.

“I think the experience last year playing in the tournament definitely helped,” Niemi said. “I think we did a good job communicating with each other.”

And they showed they can play in all weather — from humid and 80 degrees Wednesday to wind chills in the 40s on Saturday.

“My hands were so cold when we started,” Short said. “But, once you start moving, you warm up.”

Defending their title was definitely a goal — going through the tournament without dropping a set was as well.

“I think because we were the number one seed, the expectations were high,” Short said. “We definitely wanted to do that (win convincingly).”

Now, comes a second straight trip to the district tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on Thursday.

“They have the experience and they know what to expect next week,” Goldner said. “At this point in the season, it is not about who you play. It is about how you play.”

Third seeded Casey Rogers and Gwen Turnbull will be making their first trip to the district tournament.

On Saturday, they lost to Northmont 6-4, 6-1 and Vandalia-Butler 6-2, 6-2 to finish fourth.

“Today wasn’t their day,” Goldner said. “But, like said on Wednesday, I am so happy for those two that the get the chance to play at district.”

The top four finishers in singles and doubles at district will advance on to the state tournament.

Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]

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