Eagles Serve it up Twice in State Finals

CJ women’s tennis players earned the right to play in Ohio’s two most prestigious high school tournaments this postseason.

The Eagles not only qualified as a team for the Ohio Tennis Coaches’ Association (OTCA) state final four, but coach Jim Brooks also sent his program’s top two players to the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) singles state championship this October.

In her third career trip to state, junior Natalie Allen ‘16 fell in the opening round of the Division II singles tournament to the eventual state runner-up. She qualified after placing third in the regional tournament.

Sophomore Kelly Pleiman ‘17, the 2014 sectional and regional champion, broke through to the state tournament this fall after her freshman campaign ended at regionals. She took a first round defeat at the hands of an eventual state semifinalist in her first match in Columbus.

But the journey did not stop there for Allen, Pleiman and the No. 2 state-ranked Eagles.

“I’m excited about getting to state but, to be honest, I’m more excited about going to state as a team,” Allen told the Dayton Daily News. She and Pleiman teamed back up with Brianna Douglas ‘17, Amanda Draeger ‘16, Alexis Robinson ‘17, Ashley Huffman ‘15, Katarina Dranchak ‘16 and Olivia Boch ‘18 in the OTCA state finals Oct. 19.

CJ qualified as a team after downing the then-ranked No. 2 team in the state, Cincinnati Indian Hill, 3-2 in the regional finals. Before that, the team finished the regular season as GCL Coed champs with an 18-3 overall record and a perfect 6-0 record in league play.

"What turned out to be a long and glorious tennis season is now over. It ended with some great matches but not as many victories as we had hoped for," coach Brooks said. His team finished fourth at the OTCA state finals.

"I cannot ask any more from this team than what they gave us this year. They achieved great things, and that goes for the JV team as well."

Eagles tennis players have reached state in 13 of the last 16 seasons.