Kelly Pleiman long ago traded in her toys for a tennis racket.
“I used to go to my sisters’ matches with my pop-up tent and Play-Doh,” Pleiman said, smiling.
While her older sisters Christie and Katie, now 24 and 22, had years of success on the Chaminade Julienne tennis team, now it’s little sister’s turn. And the Eagles freshman is making the most of it as she qualified to the Division II district tennis tournament.
“I’m so excited to make it as a freshman,” Pleiman said.
She is less excited about her upcoming match with her CJ teammate Natalie Allen. Pleiman and Allen, a sophomore, will play for third place on Monday in the Dayton sectional tennis tournament that has been played at five different sites over three days and has yet to be completed because of rain. The DII semifinals were played at Fairmont High School and, later, Kettering Tennis Center when the soaked courts became unplayable Saturday.
Like Pleiman, Alter freshman Amanda Showalter has moved from the sidelines to center court.
“I was in preschool when my sister went to state, but I definitely remember it,” Showalter said.
Showalter and partner Lauren Hawley are one win away from a DII sectional doubles championship much to their surprise. Hawley and Showalter played first and second singles, respectively, for the Knights during the regular season.
“Honestly, we thought we were going to be awful at doubles,” Showalter said.
Like the Knights duo, top-seeded DII singles player Rheanna Morehart is also a win away from a sectional title — her second in as many years. Morehart will face Carroll freshman Jillian Milano on Monday.
Morehart, a senior, has a definite sense of urgency in her final season of high school tennis. She qualified to state as a fourth seed last year.
“I think I’ve probably put a little more pressure on myself,” Morehart said. “I’m definitely going to give it my all every time I play.”
• Division I: There were few surprises in Division I semifinal play Saturday at Five Seasons.
Top-seeded singles player Sharon Danquah, of Lakota West, blanked Miamisburg’s Mikaela Hindenlang, 6-0, 6-0, in the semifinals while Lakota East’s Paige Silverberg outlasted Miamisburg’s Carley Sickinger in a marathon three-set match, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The two top-seeded doubles teams will battle for the sectional title as Lakota East’s Haley Harrison and Maddy Mueck and Bellbrook’s Rachel Heinz and Megan Yates both posted straight-set semifinal wins.
• Sectional finals: Both the DI and DII sectional finals will be played at 3:30 p.m. Monday at Centerville High School.
District play gets underway Thursday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.