COVINGTON, Ind. — The Covington girls tennis doubles team of Emma Taylor and Karsyn Engle didn’t even start the season together, but they already had a chemistry.
“Karsyn and I grew up together and we have been best friends since elementary school, where we were inseparable so I feel that dynamic transfers on the court because we communicate and we know each other,” Taylor said. “In the first few matches, I was in singles, but we were able to move me with doubles and it is ironic how things have turned around.”
Now they are a few matches away from winning the IHSAA state doubles title.
The juniors will start play in the state tournament quarterfinal on Friday against Delta’s Tynan Dishnan and Maggie Manor at Indianapolis’ North Central High School.
“I think during the season, you start at one place and you hope at the end of the season, you are playing your best tennis,” Covington coach Terry Field said. “Our doubles have consistently got better and better as they learned to play as a team.”
Field said that the confidence that the team has built has been a major reason that things have been going good in the postseason so far.
“When you start playing some of the better teams around, you start to build confidence. We played well during the sectional and we had good practices.”
After getting past Parke Heritage’s Jillian Gregg and Grace Ramsay 6-1, 6-3, Taylor and Engle went to the regionals in Kokomo, Ind. They would beat Mississinewa’s Ella Franz and Hallie Sullivan 6-4, 7-5 and then Lafayette Central Catholic’s Anna Belle Brouilette and Mayah Love 7-5, 7-5 to go to 26-0 for the season.
“We played I think the best team in the opening match against Mississinewa, they hit the ball well across the court and they hit lobs and overheads,” Field said. “We battled back from a 4-4 tie in the first set and in the second set, they had three set points against us and we kept saving the point and got the momentum. In the finals, they were leading 5-4 in both sets and we won 7-5. The girls showed a lot of fortitude and resilience and they did not give up.”
“The last couple of weeks have been huge in Covington history,” Taylor said. “It is great because we are this small town and we don’t get opportunities like this often, so there has not been a lot of pressure on us and we just go out and play and making the most of everything and that has been working for us.”
The wins showed that the team is ready for state and they will have to be against the senior team from Delta, who is 24-2 entering the quarterfinals.
“They did somethings later in the season they didn’t do earlier in the season,” Field said about his team. “They are playing their best tennis right now and we are happy to have the opportunity to be in the quarterfinal and playing a good Delta team. We have to play as well as we can. You go into these situations and you play to win and that is what the girls are going to do, play to win.”
But no matter what happens this weekend, the Trojans just want to represent Covington in this rare opportunity for a state title.
We are very excited for our school and team to because this is only the second team from Covington to go to state and we haven’t had any WRC teams go,” Field said. “So we want to represent ourselves, the community and the WRC as much as we can.”
“We don’t know a whole lot about our competition, but we do know they have to be on a major level to get here and there are going to be a lot better than teams we have seen,” Taylor said. “We are not going to worry about them; we are just going to focus on our play and our game. I think it is exciting for our town and I am thankful for the support of this great town because you will never see anything like the support that they have given us.”
If Taylor and Engle win, they will play in the semifinals on Saturday.