No. 5 - Lady Cardinals cap perfect season with sectional title

Friday, December 30, 2011
The 2011 Bloomfield High School girls tennis team poses with the sectional championship trophy after winning the tournament at Loogootee in May. This was voted as the No. 5 sports story of 2011 by the Greene County Daily World. (By B.J. Hargis)

During his nearly two decades as boys and girls tennis coach at Bloomfield High School, Mike Canty has witnessed record-setting team and individual performances and conference and sectional championships.

But never has he seen perfection.

Bloomfield capped off a perfect season in May with a 4-1 win over Paoli to claim the second girls Loogootee Sectional title and first in nine seasons.

It was the 20th straight win for the Lady Cardinals, who concluded the season at 20-1 with a loss at the regional. This was voted as the No. 5 sports story of 2011 by the Greene County Daily World.

"I can't stop smiling," said Canty, who completed his 19th season in charge of the Lady Cardinals. "It is still sort of a blur. This has truly been an amazing thing."

Canty knew he had some talent as five of seven starters returned from last year's 17-4 squad that was conference champion and would have a shot at a sectional title if not for a late-season injury to senior Sarah Miller. Rachel Toon also was lost to graduation.

"If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year about winning 20 matches, I would have probably laughed at you," said Canty. "And if you had asked me about winning 20 and having four matches rained out, I would have laughed at you too."

Winning a third straight Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference championship and breaking through at the sectional might not have been surprising, but an undefeated regular season was. Canty admits that the weather might have had something to do with the accomplishment.

"We lost a couple of tough matches to the weather," said Canty. "The toughest would have been Bedford North Lawrence.

"To be honest, we would have been the underdog in that match. But that is something we will never know about. Regardless, this has been a heck of a ride."

Sarah Scott, Alley Gilliland and Kari Schulte played singles and Bailee Byers and Elena Weddle played No. 1 doubles and Emily Walker and Rachel Helms played No. 2 doubles.