Cathedral ended Carroll's 2017 season in the first round of the girls tennis state championships Saturday, as the No. 2 Fighting Irish halted the Chargers' season for the second straight year, this time at semistate.
No. 4 Carroll's undefeated season came to an abrupt halt at Homestead as Cathedral rolled to a 5-0 win in which it did not lose a set.
Losing is an unfamiliar feeling for the Chargers (27-1) this season. Entering Saturday's matches, the team's No. 2 singles player, Katelyn VanWyngarden, and No. 1 doubles tandem of Lauren VanWyngarden and Mia Toscos were each 27-0. Both took their first losses against Cathedral, while No. 1 singles player Sydney Jackson lost for just the third time in 28 matches.
Jackson, the Chargers' lone senior, battled Cathedral's Maeve Koscielski, and fell 6-0, 6-2. Koscielski (23-1) repeatedly hit vicious winners toward Jackson's backhand and won the first seven games of the match.
"It was my last match ever because I'm a senior, so I just put it all on the line and just played my heart out and hoped for the best," said Jackson. "That's all I could do.
"I just absolutely loved this season. The girls are great, they're all absolutely amazing. I'm going to miss them so much. We were all hugging (after the match) and it's sad to come to an end, but we played well this whole season."
The overwhelming camaraderie of this Carroll team was emphasized by other players after the match, as well.
"Playing with (this team) was so fun," Lauren VanWyngarden said. "I think we're especially going to miss practices, we talked about that afterwards, like, we don't want it to end because we love all the girls.
"Although we had to face a tough team today, I think we're a tough team too."
VanWyngarden and Toscos' No. 1 doubles team led their first set 3-2, but eventually lost it 6-4 and lost the second set 6-2. Their opponents, Claire Koscielski and Meg Coleman, improved to 22-0 this season and Koscielski remained undefeated in her three seasons of high school tennis.
"I think (No.1) doubles played exceptionally well today," Carroll coach Kyle Stoffel said. "Those two girls they played (Koscielski and Coleman) are just absolutely tougher than nails."
After the No. 1 doubles match ended, Stoffel gathered VanWyngarden and Toscos and put arm over each of their shoulders, talking to them for a few minutes before all three left the court.
"I told them that the Cathedral coach and I both agreed that, we agreed early in the first set, that whoever wins this match will be state champion in doubles," Stoffel said.
In the No. 2 singles match, freshman Ellie Pittman defeated Katelyn VanWyngarden 6-0, 6-1. The Chargers' No. 2 doubles team of Katie Beier and Maria Casiano lost 6-1, 6-4. Carroll No. 3 singles player Bailey Newman drew some of the loudest applause of the day after winning one long string of volleys at the net, but she also lost in straight sets against Cole Spau.
Delta beat Concord 3-2 in the other semistate matchup at Homestead and will join Cathedral in the state championships beginning Friday.