The Grosse Pointe South girls tennis team poses for a photo after winning the Division 1 state championship June 1. It’s the first state title for the Blue Devils since 2014.

The Grosse Pointe South girls tennis team poses for a photo after winning the Division 1 state championship June 1. It’s the first state title for the Blue Devils since 2014.

Photo by Eliza Hix


Grosse Pointe South girls tennis wins Division 1 state title

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 4, 2019

GROSSE POINTE –– The Grosse Pointe South girls tennis team entered the Division 1 state final May 31-June 1 at Greater Midland Tennis Center looking to complete two phases.

Phase one was to get everybody as far as possible on the first day. Most of the Blue Devils didn’t have too much trouble advancing to the semifinals, but Ann Arbor Pioneer was looking to stop South’s momentum.

At No. 3 doubles, Kaitlin Ifkovits and Mairin Heimbuch found themselves down a set and in a tiebreaker in the second set. The pair was in danger of being eliminated from the tournament.

But they responded, winning the tiebreaker and closing out Pioneer in the third set of a match that proved to be key for South down the line.

With No. 3 doubles narrowly advancing, the Blue Devils had all eight flights in the semifinals and a 24-23 lead over Bloomfield Hills High, which had seven flights advance.

The Black Hawks’ only flight to not advance was in No. 2 doubles after falling to the Blue Devils in the quarterfinals, which was another key match for South.

“I didn’t want to depend on anybody else,” South coach Mark Sobieralski said. “It’s a lot easier if you can take care of business yourself. I’d rather have the control than give someone else the control to your destiny.”

Phase two for the Blue Devils was simple: finish the job. Day two would again provide intrigue, as South’s No. 3 doubles pair was set to square off with No. 1 seed Bloomfield Hills.

After narrowly escaping a quarterfinal match, the Blue Devils’ No. 3 doubles pair downed the Black Hawks’ duo in straight sets to nab a spot in the finals and gain another point for the team.

The No. 3 doubles team would go on to lose in the final, but No. 4 singles player Moira Hix and No. 2 doubles pair Anna Dietz and Claire Beardslee would pick up the slack, winning their respective flights. No. 1 singles player Lily Jones added a runner-up finish.

In the end, South would earn a team total of 30 points to edge Bloomfield Hills, which ended the finals with 28. This is South’s first state championship since 2014 and the program’s 15th Class A/Division 1 title in program history.

“I shed a couple tears, ’cause it never gets old,” Sobieralski said. “This was my toughest one to win. The other ones were tough, but there was a point where it was over; we had it. Here, we were involved in 12 matches on Saturday, and nine of them went to a third set. You talk about stress. It was crazy.”

For Sobieralski and the rest of the team, being able to hold the trophy, relax and celebrate together when it was finally over was a special moment.

“It was exciting. It was just great to yell and scream at the end, get all that tightness out of you. That was the fun part,” Sobieralski said.