Kapaun Mount Carmel freshman Carmen Mindt faced a tall order Monday at No. 4 singles.
Tall, as in Bishop Carroll senior Paige Lauer, who had about six inches in height and three more years of varsity experience on Mindt.
But Mindt persevered for a match-clinching, 6-3, 6-4 triumph, helping Kapaun get in position for its eighth straight City League championship with a 5-4 victory at Carroll.
Afterward, Mindt — all 5-foot-4 of her — said she was only concentrating on getting the ball back across the net and keeping it in play against Lauer, one half of the 2011 Class 5A doubles runners-up.
“Keeping the points longer was what got me through the match,” Mindt said.
As the match wore on, Lauer moved closer to the net to try to use her long reach for smashes, but Mindt twice lobbed it over Lauer’s head, keeping it in by mere inches.
Mindt said she was unaware that her match decided the dual.
“I didn’t know until I got off the court, and my teammates were like, ‘We just won because of you.’ It was pretty exciting.”
Kapaun coach Kathy Schulte said she thought it best to not tell Mindt of what was at stake.
“Because she was a freshman, I didn’t know how she was going to handle that,” she said.
The teams were tied 4-4 going into the No. 4 singles match. Kapaun’s Allie Schulte and Elizabeth Pringle won their singles matches and teamed for a triumph at No. 1 doubles.
The wind was a factor. In the No. 1 singles match against Courtney Lubbers, Allie Schulte lobbed a ball against the 23-mph south wind that bounced once across the net, then spun and was blown back onto Schulte’s side, bouncing twice before she could react.
The Crusaders also got a boost from another freshman, Allie Gahagan, who beat Carroll senior Lexie Dorn in a tiebreaker at No. 6 singles.
“She really rose to the challenge at the time we needed her to do it,” Kathy Schulte said of Gahagan.
Having the best record in the dual portion of the City League schedule, the Crusaders can take the title outright with a victory Saturday in the league meet at Wichita State’s Coleman Tennis Center. But once again, Carroll will also be there, and the two might face off again at regionals and state.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Schulte said.
Singles – Schulte, KMC, def. C. Lubbers, 6-1, 6-3; Pringle, KMC, def. Nat. Lubbers, 6-1, 6-3; Oxler, BC, def. Morton, 6-2, 6-0; Mindt, KMC, def. Lauer, 6-3, 6-4; Nic. Lubbers, BC, def. Wallace, 6-0, 6-2; Gahagan, KMC, def. Dorn, 6-3, 7-6 (7). Doubles – Schulte-Pringle, KMC, def. Lauer-Nat. Lubbers, 6-4, 6-0; C. Lubbers-Oxler, BC, def. Morton-Mindt, 6-1, 6-0; Nic. Lubbers-Dorn def. Wallace-Gahagan, 6-0, 6-1.