This TB file photo Van Wert’s Katie Etter retruns a serve in a match earlier this season against Bath. Etter advanced to the district tournament Saturday, but the Lady Cougar didn’t advance as a team. (TB file photo)
This TB file photo Van Wert’s Katie Etter retruns a serve in a match earlier this season against Bath. Etter advanced to the district tournament Saturday, but the Lady Cougar didn’t advance as a team. (TB file photo)
BY BRIAN BASSETT

Times Bulletin Sports Editor

sports@timesbulletin.com

LIMA - The Van Wert girls tennis team had momentum from a second-place finish in the Western Buckeye League tournament last weekend heading into Thursday's sectional at the University of Northwestern Ohio, and used that to send an individual to the district tournament for the first time in quite some time.

First singles player, senior Katie Etter punched her ticket to the district tournament in Bowling Green Thursday. She was the second seed, and picked pu wins over Bluffton (6-1, 6-0), Celina (7-5, 6-2) and Shawnee (7-5, 6-2) to advance to districts.

"It's quite an accomplishment for Katie Etter who has worked her tail off. She lettered all four years, she started as a doubles player," said Van Wert coach Mitch Price. "It's hard to play singles, especially first singles, let alone getting third in the WBL and being a district qualifier."

The WBL champion second doubles team of junior Sydney Dull and freshman Ali Moreland was in action Thursday, but fell in the second round to Lima Central Catholic, 6-4, 6-2.

"They had really a great run in the WBL and sectional tournaments," explained Price.

The first doubles team of senior Tracy Nguyen and junior Claire Butler defeated Bluffton in the first round (6-0, 6-1) and Kenton in the second (6-4, 6-3), before falling to Celina in the third (6-0, 6-0) to just miss a spot at districts.

Senior Rachel Chen lost 6-1, 6-3 to her Spencerville opponent in third singles.

Senior Paige Dunlap played second singles for the Lady Cougars. She won her first round match (6-1, 6-0), but fell to Kenton in the second round (6-4, 6-3).

"I'm proud of the team and how they played. In the sectional, it's tough to get a lot of girls to districts. I'm proud with how they all played today, and I'm really happy to see them get better every day," added Price.