WICHITA, Kan.—For Kapaun Mt. Carmel, not winning league tennis championships is not an option. Coming into this year’s GWAL league tournament, the Crusaders had a lead over Bishop Carroll, and were eyeing a minimum eight-peat. Wins by Allie Schulte in No. 1 Singles, and the No. 1 Doubles team of Elizabeth Pringle and Carmen Mindt were key to keeping the Kapaun League Title streak alive and counting at eight in a row.
“I don’t want to be in high school when we lose City League,” said Allie Schulte. “Because it would just be bad because we have won so many in a row. I just want to get in and get it done.”
Close behind Kapaun was Carroll, who missed winning the tournament for a share of the league title by 3-points. The Crusaders’ 44 total points on the No. 1 Singles and Doubles wins went a long way in their 64 total points for the tournament. Carroll outscored Kapaun in the No. 2 brackets, but couldn’t come up with the big points on the No. 1 side.
“This (championship) has by far been the toughest that I’ve been involved in, and I’ve been involved in five of them,” said Kapaun head coach Kathy Schulte. “Definitely was not feeling overconfident coming into today. Every time we meet up with them everybody has got to bring their A-game, and I never know what to expect. So I was really proud of how my girls battled today.”
In the No. 1 Doubles final, it was an opportunity at revenge for Pringle and Mindt against Carroll’s Paige Lauer and Natalie Lubbers, who beat the Crusaders’ team at the Collegiate Tournament. After taking the first set 6-4, and going up 5-2 in the second, Pringle and Mindt had their backs against the wall when Carroll won three in a row, and eventually forced a tiebreaker in the second set.
Carroll had the recent head to head win, and all the momentum in the world, working to tie the match and force a third set. But according to Pringle, they had one other thing to deal with as well.
“Most of the pressure was on them,” said Pringle, “because we had a lot of chances to win that set. So we just had to stay cool and try to take each point as it came.”
“If we had let it get to us, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it out in the end,” said Mindt.
After going from a 5-2 lead, to a 6-6 tie, and into a tiebreaker, Pringle and Mindt showed the mental toughness to win 7-3 in the tiebreaker for the match, a huge win for Kapaun when 3 points was the total margin of victory in the tournament.
In No. 1 singles, Kapaun’s Allie Schulte rolled through her first five sets of the tournament without losing a game. After securing her place in the finals, Northwest’s Lindy Wilkerson was deep in a grueling three-set battle in which she got the upset victory to clinch her own place in the finals.
Schulte cruised to a 6-0 win in the first set, her fifth shutout in a row, Wilkerson handed her the first loss of her tournament, taking the first game in the second set.
“Losing the first game always freaks me out because I feel like that always sets the tone for the match,” said Schulte. “I always know it’s going to be close if I lose the first game.”
Wilkerson held the edge in the second set until the very end when Schulte made her move to win the second 6-4.
The appearance of Wilkerson in the finals was a curveball for Schulte who had to readjust her game.
“With Lindy, she is really consistent,” said Schulte. “I like playing short points because I get really tired.”
Click here for a complete list of finishers from the tournament.