They won’t dwell on what might have been. There’s no point.
But longtime Cathedral High School tennis coach Mark Noe said Irish girls tennis without question would have been really good in 2020 – good enough to again be one of the state’s best programs.
That’s far from the most important thing about the events of March, April and May 2020. But Noe said it still makes thinking about might have been difficult.
“The girls handled it well, but they’re bumming,” Noe said. “They spent all offseason preparing, trying to get better. They didn’t get to show what they had. They didn’t get to play their card. They’ve got to be so despaired about it, but what can you do?”
Irish girls tennis, like all Indiana high school spring sports, had its 2020 season canceled by Covid-19 regulations. All high school Indiana spring sports were canceled in early April.
That prevented the Irish from a chance to defend their 2019 state title, and also ended prematurely the senior season for the Irish’s Class of 2020. Four members of that class were varsity players who were critical to the team’s success in recent seasons.
“Since they were freshman, for a team that won the state, there were high expectations,” Noe said. “All four seniors were good girls, and all four will probably qualify for Academic All-State.”
The four ’20 seniors:
*Meg Coleman. One of the most successful tennis players in program history, she finished with an 82-1 record and was an All-State singles player in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She won the state doubles title in 2018 with Claire Koscielski 2018, was a team state finalist in 2018 and was critical to the team’s 2019 state title. Coleman won key matches in the state semifinal victory over Carmel and the state final victory over Park Tudor in 2019 – matches that lasted a combined five and a half hours .“She will go down in Cathedral Tennis lore as one of the most talented and gifted athletes to play for the Lady Irish,” Noe said, adding that she had a “sheer will to win.” Noe added, “Her gutsy performance at state last year obviously cemented her greatness.”
*Cole Spau, a first-team All-State Doubles selection in 2019 who was named honorable mention All-State singles in 2018 and honorable mention All-State doubles in 2017, she also was a member of the 2019 team state champions and a member of the 2018 state runners-up. “She’s really come on as a great player in doubles,” Noe said of Spau, who teamed with senior Bella Montefalco to win between 40-to-50 matches against five losses. “They were a wonderful team – very, very steady. Every year they got better and better. They were going to be a top contender for the state doubles title.”
*Montefalco, a first-team All-State doubles selection in 2019 who was a member of the 2019 state team champions and the 2018 state runners-up – and who Noe said will be remembered for her “fearless approach to her game and overall effort.” “They were two peas in a pod,” Noe said of Montefalco/Spau. “They played so well together. They won some big matches. They played great against Carmel and Park Tudor when those teams were loaded.”
*Rachel Konesco, a member of the 2019 state champions and 2018 runners-up. “She’s really gotten better every year since her freshman year,” Noe said. “We were looking for a lot of good stuff to happen for her this year.” Noe said one of Konesco’s biggest moments came at the 2019 Penn Classic. “Rachel won some big matches against Munster and against Penn,” Noe said. “That got us over the edge to win that tournament without one of our top players, when both of those teams were loaded.”
The foursome won more than 200 matches in three seasons at Cathedral. Noe said telling the group – and the rest of the team – there would be no season was difficult.
“What could you do?” Noe said. “We were hoping we would be back in May so we could at least have half a season. We were having meetings as an association as coaches to see if we could have a big draw, a 128 draw with singles. It just didn’t happen.”
And while the departure of the senior class leaves a void, Noe said the Irish program will move forward in what “definitely will be a growing year.”
“It will be strong, but we definitely will have to have more people step up,” Noe said. “It’s the environment of their peers, of their friends. They’re enjoying it. We’re just trying to make it an experience. It’s an adventure anyway.
“You work your butt off and see what happens. We’ve been fortunate as a coaching staff to have talented young ladies.”