AVON—The post-match huddle from the Brownsburg tennis team did not lack emotion following Tuesday’s regional meeting with Zionsville.
Zionsville overcame a loss in No. 2 singles to win each of the last four matches to advance to the final against the Park Tudor. Brownsburg saw its season end after reaching the regional round for the third straight year, and says goodbye to six seniors.
“We won as a unit, we’ve lost as a unit, but we are still a unit,” Brownsburg coach Karen Starkey said. “They have been phenomenal examples for our school – to the level of sportsmanship, competition, as well as their tennis accomplishments. For that I thank them.”
No. 2 singles player Jon Class got Brownsburg off to an auspicious start against its conference foe, winning in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3, to begin the match.
Zionsville seized the lead for good by taking each of the doubles matches over Brownsburg’s No. 1 tandem of Nick Wilde and Nathan Mehringer, and the No. 2 unit of Todd Clark and Michael Clemens.
The wins set off a boisterous celebration heard throughout the complex, as Brownsburg No. 1 singles player Sam Gentry and No. 3 Sam Peterson were engaged in their matches.
It was up to Gentry and Peterson to block out the distraction, something Starkey knew they were capable of.
“We have stressed all season long being able to manage distractions, control what we can and let go of what we cannot,” Starkey said. “What goes on down there, at that point, they can’t change, so they stay in their office.”
Whether Brownsburg would advance became Gentry’s burden. If he won, Brownsburg would move into a 2-2 tie. Instead, his opponent defeated him in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
Starkey said the Bulldogs’ season was a success on all levels.
“We suffered just a little bit as a family, but when you look back to see what we accomplished, we hold our heads up also proud as a family,” she said.
Class said the Bulldogs were ideally positioned for a rematch with Park Tudor.
“It hurt a lot because I know we had a really good chance against them this year,” Class said. “This was our best chance against them. It sucks.
“I couldn’t ask for better teammates. They were tough opponents. I just couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to play with.”