Metro Detroit high school girls tennis notebook: Novi's versatility a boost heading into state finals

Jared Ramsey
Special to The Detroit News

It has been a tumultuous season for Novi coach Daniel Lowes and his team, who did not play with its full roster all season until the regional finals. They still walked away victors over rival Northville, who defeated Novi for the KLAA conference championship.

A combination of injuries and busy schedules off the court handcuffed Lowes throughout the season, in terms of lineups he could use, but he added that the team was always up for the challenge, without whoever was missing.

“The people I've subbed in have done extremely well,” Lowes said. “And the team as a whole has picked up each other and we've done extremely well.”

With the team back to full strength at the regional, the Wildcats were able to win five of the eight brackets, including all four flights of doubles, to edge out Northville, who won both regular-season meetings.

Novi topped Northville to win the regional and advance to the state final.

Prior to regionals, Lowes said he was confident that Novi could edge out Northville and Salem at full strength, thanks to the team’s dominance in doubles and experience playing in several different roles during the regular season.

His vision came to fruition, with Novi sweeping the doubles events at regionals. Erica Goins and Herdoiza won No. 1 doubles, Eugene Chung and Avni Kinra won No. 2, Abi Parivakkam and Grace Chacko won No. 3 and Aryana Kinra and Chiharu Kobayashi won No. 4.

Lowes said the strength of the team is its depth in doubles and that the duo of Kinra and Kobayashi at No. 4 have a legitimate shot at a state championship.

“These two really just became a team like the day before our first match,” Lowes said. “And they've grown and they've excelled. So they have worked well together as a team; they pick one another up and they're extremely fun to watch.”

Grosse Pointe South aims for state title

For the first time, Grosse Pointe South is looking to take home the Division 2 state championship in girls tennis. Previously, the school competed in Division 1 and won the state championship at the top level in 2019.

Now, the Blue Devils are classified in Division 2 and are seeking to finish their first season as champions.  South enters the state finals as the winners of its regional, and third-ranked team in Division 2 according to the statewide coaches poll.

“I want them (opposing schools) to go, 'Oh, my God, we gotta play Grosse Pointe South,' because they know our history,"  South coach Mark Sobieralski said. "And so we gotta use it to our advantage."

They got things started with a bit of revenge, after defeating rival Grosse Pointe North in the regionals, after losing to North in the regular season. South’s No. 1 and 2 singles players, Moira Hix and Olivia Dalman, won the regional over North players after losing earlier in the year.

“Our team is really mentally strong,” Sobieralski said. “I mean, we lack on the big, big hitters like we normally have every year, but our kids, we make up for the lack of big power-hitting with just being really mentally strong.”

South also swept the four doubles brackets at the regional. The duo of Meghan Wysocki and Molly Perkins won No. 1 doubles, Maeve Hix and Megan Kornmeier won No. 2, Mimi Mager and Ana Maria Garberding won at No. 3 and Elise Sutts and Cara Chadwell won No. 4 to qualify for the state tournament.

Pioneer sophomore state dominant

Ann Arbor Pioneer sophomore Reese Miller, the reigning state champion at No. 1 singles, breezed her way through regionals, only dropping one game and no sets on her way to an individual regional championship.

Miller’s victory helped Pioneer, the top team in the state in the coaches poll, qualify for the state final, where they look to repeat as team champions.

Miller is undefeated this season and looks to finish the perfect year with her second individual state championship.

Jared Ramsey is a freelance writer.