Editor's note: This version corrects that Anthony Wayne placed second and Perrysburg finished third.
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The smiles among the Northview girls tennis team were so frequent and wide after winning the school’s first Northern Lakes League title in a decade on Tuesday, one player joked that her cheeks hurt.
The Wildcats had actually already clinched the NLL team title heading into the championship matches at Jermain Park. Northview entered the tournament with a perfect 7-0 dual meet record and had players reach the championship finals in four of the five singles and doubles events.
Northview junior Megan Miller captured her third straight individual title at No. 1 singles in dominating fashion. Miller defeated Bowling Green’s Cassadie Baker 6-0, 6-1 in the championship match. Miller lost only game in the entire tournament as she swept her first two opponents 6-0, 6-0 on Monday.
"I’m so happy for our team to pull it off, especially for our seniors," she said. "My freshman year I was not expecting anything at all so I was shocked that I won. My sophomore year I knew I could do it because of my freshman year. Now my junior year I just wanted to keep it going."
Northview’s Emily Gross won the title at No. 3 singles with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Moira Sams of Perrysburg. The Wildcats’ Jessica Rentner took second place at No. 2 singles, losing 6-1, 6-3 to Anthony Wayne’s McKenzie Krieg.
Northview’s No. 1 doubles team of Maddie Mills and Abbie Ciucci took second as Napoleon’s Rachel Niermann and Addie Small knocked them off in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
Northview coach Susie Miller, who also is Megan’s mother, snapped celebration photos of her beaming players after the matches.
"We have a lot of depth on our team. I have 10 girls on the varsity and they all contributed to this. It wasn’t just the seven who played today," Miller said.
Defending champion Anthony Wayne was second. Perrysburg, which had won eight consecutive titles from 2003 to 2010, placed third as a team.
The overall title is determined by a combination of dual meet and tournament points.
Perrsyburg’s Camryn Kiel and Grace Conley won the title at No. 2 doubles.
Northview last won an NLL team title in 2002 when the Wildcats had captured seven in a row.
"It’s been 10 years," coach Miller said. "This is a wonderful group."
Miller said her No. 2 doubles team of Geeta Roa and Kate Diment avenged an earlier loss to take third.
Megan Miller said the tag of being the favorite makes her a better player.
"It gives me confidence," she said. "I handle myself better. It’s encouraging."
But she said she didn’t realize she had not lost a game until late in her second set on Tuesday.
"My goal was just to win the NLLs. I wasn’t expecting an 0 and 0 the whole time," she said. "I really didn’t think about that. I just thought about working on some stuff."
Coach Miller said she did not let her players know that they had clinched the title even before Tuesday’s matches.
"I wanted to keep them motivated and focused," she said. "I didn’t want them to relax too much."
Megan Miller said she hopes the win serves as a springboard for the upcoming postseason. Miller reached state as a freshman but lost in the district semifinals last year.
"This is getting us ready for sectionals because you’re starting to play the better players," she said. "This is the time I have to work the hardest."
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.