After serving as an assistant tennis coach at Homestead for four years, Kyle Stoffel moved to Carroll and started the building process. He's been the Chargers' boys coach for 20 years and the girls coach for 15 years.
``I had five courts, no observation anything, no storage anything,'' Stoffel said. ``All the balls were in the back of my car, and no assistant. To watch how the facilities and programs have changed over the last 20 years, I pinch myself. It's great.''
That grip is going to leave a mark today because his girls team achieved a new one Tuesday. The No. 10-ranked Chargers beat Homestead 4-1 in the semifinals of the Homestead Regional for the first time. If Carroll can beat Bishop Dwenger today for the second time this season, the Chargers will win their first regional title, and Stoffel will get to see one of his dreams completed.
``I think it's clear,'' Stoffel said. ``At this point and time, we're in charge. We've beaten them two years in a row now and won the conference two years in a row. It's too bad the NHC is disbanding.''
When he left Homestead, there was no way anyone else could even daydream of challenging the Spartans. Now Carroll and Canterbury are every bit as formidable as Homestead, which is losing its top four players to graduation.
``Against a team that is as good as you are, you have to play well a little more often,'' Honmestead coach Jim Shull said. ``I would say it was a percentages game. We lost again on percentages. We can hit one ball in a row like anybody, but today they just out-steadiest us just the slightest. All power to them because they had everything to lose.''
There were some well-played matches, too, though the scores don't necessarily show the intensity because the Chargers won almost every long point. Carroll's Rachel Sutton beat Kelsey Vessels 6-3, 6-3; the Chargers' Ashley Hoagland beat Hanita Epstein 6-2, 6-2; and Jenna Jackson beat Mary Rajchel 7-5, 7-6 (9-7 in tiebreaker) during singles play.
Carroll's Audrey Mallers and Makenzie Schoeff beat Homestead's Allison Overlander and Jenay Andrews 6-3, 7-5 at No. 1 doubles before Homestead's Andrea Stephens and Leah Rumancik outlasted the Chargers' Taylor Stanchin and Catherine Curtis 6-1, 6-4.
Bishop Dwenger edged Huntington North 3-2 with two three-set matches. Huntington North's Kylie Frederick beat Leah Stetzel 6-3, 6-2, and the Vikings' Kari Bard outlasted Alex Yoder 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. Bishp Dwneger's Meredith Braun won a key point at No. 3 singles with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Emily Eherenman.
Dwenger's great No. 1 team of Audrey Rang and Elizabeth Maxson beat Mariah Zumbrun and Ashley Bard 6-0, 6-0, and Bishop Dwenger's Lynelle Lee and Elizabeth O'Daniel won the deciding point at No. 2 doubles with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win over Emily Karst and Ana Eckert.
The winner of today's match advances to Saturday's Concordia Semistate.
In the individual singles tournament, Bishop Luers junior Natalie Rahrig defeated South Side senior Norene Mamani 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, and Blackhawk Christian senior Morgan Bemisderfer defeated Northrop sophomore Sabrina Ngo 6-4, 4-4 forfeit.