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2008 was bittersweet season for Lady CardinalsPosted Thursday, May 22, 2008, at 9:43 PM
On the one hand, the Bloomfield High School Lady Cardinals were champions of the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference and set a school record for wins in a season. But on the other hand, BHS came up short again in the sectional, losing to host Loogootee 3-2 in sectional championship match Saturday.
"It is always a shame to go into the tournament because you know your are going to get beat some time," said Bloomfield girls tennis coach Mike Canty, who led the Lady Cards to a sectional title at Loogootee in 2002. "But it was a great year.
"I know I was talking in the beginning of the season and crying around about just trying to be .500. But we had a lot of different things that fell into place."
Canty knew what he had in Bailey Maryfield. The junior, who had won 26 matches in her first two seasons with the Lady Cardinals, is on the verge of breaking the school record for wins in a season.
She currently has a 19-2 record, which ties Brittany Kuruzovich's record set three years ago. This comes in her second season playing the top spot, where she compiled a 9-9 mark at No. 1 singles in 2007.
Maryfield, who advanced to the second round of the individual state singles tournament, has still yet to face teammate Nikkole Thombleson in the championship SWIAC singles match, which was postponed from May 10 because of limitations on the number of contests that can be played in one day.
"Maryfield still has one more match remaining," said Canty. "So she could break Brittany's record. Brittany had just a great senior year.
"I knew what we had in Bailey. She really has stepped up her game this season."
With her totals so far this season, Maryfield now has 45 career wins, which puts her in fifth place all-time in total career wins.
Those victories also place her second in singles, one ahead of Kurozovich and just six behind all-time leader Laura Kay Watkins.
Kurozovich has the top spot in Lady Cardinal history with 57 total victories, easily within reach for Maryfield. Watkins has 51 career wins, Miranda Helms is third with 49 and Nicole Richardson is fourth with 47.
"Bailey has played some very good tennis for us over the past three seasons," said Canty. "She was a big part in our success this year."
Thombleson had to make the move from No. 3 singles to No. 2 after winning 14 of 17 matches in 2007.
But the senior posted a 15-5 record at two singles.
"Nikkole had a great year," said Canty. "You never know how a kid is going to react when they move from three to two or from two to one.
"Nikkole had a much better season that I anticipated. It is tough move from three to two. I thought she might have a little drop off, but that was not the case."
At No. 3 singles, Sarah Miller won 16 of 19 matches. This came after playing only four varsity matches a year ago.
"The team was really strong in singles this year," said Canty. "But all of the girls from one to seven really played well."
Senior Abbey Humerickhouse and junior Christina Neill combined for 12 victories at No. 1 doubles.
Although Canty used different combinations, junior Lindley Gremore (8-9) and sophomore Rachel Toon (8-8) played right at .500 tennis in the No. 2 doubles spot.
Bloomfield went 14-7 in 2005 and 13-8 six years ago during the sectional championship season. Canty has an overall record of 130-109 in his 16 seasons as girls coach.
"I would guess that this is probably the strongest team I had overall," he said. "In some of those years, we had people with 5-17 records. This year everybody was right at .500 or better.
"But it's just not our top seven. I think we could have went 12 deep."
Humerickhouse and Thombleson will be his only graduation.
"We will carry a big X on our back next year," said Canty. "But Loogootee just loses one senior so they will carry the tag of favorite at the sectional again."
Loogootee and Bloomfield have met nine times at the Loogootee Sectional since 1999.
The Lady Lions have won seven on the nine meetings, including for the sectional championship in 2008, 2007, 2004 and 2001. Loogootee defeated Bloomfield in the semifinals in 2005 and 2003.
In all, Loogootee, who also beat the Lady Cardinals 4-1 in the first round in 1999, has now won 13 sectional titles, including five in a row.
Bloomfield defeated Loogootee 3-2 in the title match to earn its only sectional championship six years ago.
The Lady Cardinals also defeated Loogootee 3-2 in the semifinals in 2000. But Bloomfield fell to Barr-Reeve in the title tilt eight years ago.
The teams split two regular season meetings this year.
"I might have done some things different, but I have no qualms about the girls at all," Canty said of the 3-2 loss in the title match to LHS this year. "Everybody we had played really well.
"Our doubles teams played tremendously. They improved all year long."
Canty knows they always will have to go through the Lady Lions to win a sectional.
"They are always a tough team to compete against. They have a great program," he said. "They start kids off in third and fourth grade and have a junior high program. Once a kid gets to high school, they have played three years of competitive tennis, five to 10 matches a year.
"They have about 130 kids for a summer camp and last year we had 30. That's a big difference. You have to get out there and swing a racquet. But as long as the kids are having fun and showing good sportsmanship, that is all you can ask."
Notes: Maryfield defeated Laura Daig of Signature School 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 in the first round of the singles tournament Tuesday at Jasper. On Wednesday at the same site, Sarah Buedel of Evansville Harrison), defeated Maryfield 6-3, 6-2.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.
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