Frankfort — Realistically, when the sectional tennis draw came out Monday night, the Lebanon girls tennis knew that Wednesday night was probably their last match of the season.
Drawing a seventh-ranked Zionsville team that beat them 5-0 just a couple weeks ago, the key message from head coach Joe LePage was to just make sure you represent yourselves well.
And while the final result was 5-0, LePage was proud of the effort the team showed.
"We told them three things — No. 1 to do their best, it was probably the last match of the season or a career. No. 2 was to have fun, and No. 3 represent the school well," LePage said Wednesday. "We knew Zionsville was going to most likely beat, but how you win and how you lose is important. The girls represented themselves and the school well, and played hard."
At No. 1 singles, Sophie Herrman topped Jessica Lehmkuhler 6-0, 6-0 and at No. 2 singles, Brittany Jones topped Michelle Horvat 6-0, 6-1.
Horvat was the only Tiger to win a game on the night. LePage said the two underclassmen showed good signs throughout the season, and now it's time to take the next step.
"Michelle and Jessica really kind of set the bar and can take it to the next level," LePage said. "To be honest, we are kind of at a crossroads with the program. Do we want to be the team that plays two months out of the year or that team that puts in significant time to it? Teams like Western Boone and Crawfordsville, Frankfort is much improved and North Montgomery all put a lot of time in the off-season, then obviously in our sectional Zionsville lives it. We are at a crossroads. Do we want to be doormats or do we want to invest our time and do well."
At No. 3 singles, Rachel Mingus topped Kara Godby 6-0, 6-0 and at No. 1 doubles, Lauren Campbell and Simryn Kapur topped Emma Biddle and Maddie Wirey 6-0, 6-0.
It was the final match at Lebanon for Biddle, Godby and Wirey.
"They brought a lot personality to the team," LePage said. "They may not have had the best record for a senior class, or been the most skilled players, but when they were in with us, they were willing to do anything to help the team win and set a good example. We never had to worry about them off the court and they had a great personality and good humility about them."
At No. 2 doubles, Sierra Allen and Sophie Regele topped Irene Ransom and Hannah Parker 6-0, 6-0.
The Tigers finished the season 6-13 and 2-4 in the Sagamore Conference.
LePage said that if the Tigers want to turn those marks around, it starts in the off-season.
"We have set the tone with the middle school kids coming up especially that we are going to have to play in the summer and fall," LePage said. "There is really no ifs, ands or buts about it, we are not going to be on the bottom rung of the conference standings, so we have to put the time in. We are going offer a summer camp, summer hitting sessions and we are going to have them play in a tournament to be battle tested. All of those must happen for us to not be a 6-win team next season."