File photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
North Muskegon’s girls tennis team was ranked No. 4 in Division 4 by the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association.
And that’s exactly where the Norse finished in the MHSAA Division 4 state finals over the weekend in the Ann Arbor area. They scored 14 points to tie for fourth place with Elk Rapids and Jackson Lumen Christi.
Ann Arbor Greenhills captured the team title again with 35 points. Bloomfield Academy of the Sacred Heart was runner-up (26 points), while Grand Rapids Catholic Central finished third (18).
“We were very happy with how the girls played and competed the entire weekend. Overall, we scored about as well as I thought we would. We left a few points on the table that we probably could’ve had but also scored a couple upsets that we weren’t necessarily planning on either,” North Muskegon coach Cody Liverance said.
“It was great to see our girls play their best tennis of the season when it mattered most. I was so proud of how they battled against the best teams and players in the state. They carried themselves with class and represented our school and town extremely well. This was a great group to work with and it made me really happy to see them maximize their potential as the season went on.”
North Muskegon’s No. 2 doubles team of Ella Tarrant and Anna Toebe were seeded fifth and advanced to the semifinals. They gave the eventual state champions their toughest match of the tournament in the semifinals.
Liverance also highlighted the play of seniors Noa Bowen, Gabby Gaston and Natalie Lorenz, whom he believed wrapped up their careers on a high note.
Bowen upset the No. 5 seed in the No. 1 singles round of 16, playing the best tennis of her career, Liverance said.
Gaston battled some of the best players in the state at No. 2 singles and held her No. 3 seed, making it to the semifinals. It was her second straight year in the semifinals, as last season she did it at No. 1 doubles.
Lorenz and No. 1 doubles partner Marilyn Gaston picked up a big win against Elk Rapids in the round of 16 before they gave the defending state champs a tough match in the quarterfinals.
“These three (seniors) have been key members of each of the last three seasons we’ve had, helping our program win city, conference and regional titles each year of their high school careers,” Liverance said. “They’ve also helped us finish in the top four at the state finals the last three seasons, and could’ve added to that resume had they not lost a year to COVID.
“Our program is in a better place because of their commitment and sacrifices to making themselves and other around them better players and people.”
WHITEHALL COMPETES IN D-3
Whitehall’s girls tennis team competed in the Division 3 state finals at Midland Tennis Center and Midland High School. The Vikings finished with two points. Bloomfield Hills Marian ran away with the team championship with 37 points.
Elizabeth Bentz and Brianna Bentz claimed the lone victory for Whitehall with a second-round win at No. 3 doubles.
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