By Jake Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
Hendricks County Flyer
---- — SPEEDWAY — Despite getting off to a slow start against Speedway Monday night, the Danville boys’ tennis team overcame and finished strong, spoiling senior night for the host Sparkplugs.
Danville earned a 4-1 win, but it wasn’t as easy as the final tally indicated.
“They fought and battled back,” Danville coach Rick Foster said. “Most of them had to go to the third set to get it done and I’ll give them a lot of credit. They had to fight to get back and finish it out.”
Danville’s No. 2 doubles team of Jared Smith and Jayson Stone took the first match fairly quickly with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Matt Nelson and Cory Elam.
Speedway’s Will Jackman downed Nick Newman at No. 1 singles 6-1, 6-0 to tie the match at 1-1.
The last three matches went three sets and the outcome was uncertain the rest of the way.
No. 3 singles player Zach Saito led 4-3 in the first set, but lost three straight to Speedway’s Josh Stewart, falling 6-4. Saito came back to win 12 consecutive games and took the second and third sets 6-0, 6-0.
“He was just one of those kids that couldn’t find his game at the beginning and we just kept telling him to go to his strengths and attack (Stewart’s) weakness,” Foster said.
Saito’s win gave Danville a 2-1 advantage, but the No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles matches were each entering their third sets.
Danville’s Nick Steinmetz and Daniel Dieckmann battled Clay Robertson and Eddie Dermond through three sets and finished in a tiebreak, sealing the win for the Warriors. Steinmetz and Dieckmann took a 6-3 advantage before the Sparkplugs’ duo tied it up with a 6-4 win.
Danville’s pair led 4-1 in the third but ended up tied at 6-6. Steinmetz and Dieckmann won the tiebreak 7-1.
“That was a yo-yo match,” Foster said. “Both teams were fighting hard and when one would get the momentum the other team settled back a bit. Fortunately, our kids got the momentum going into the tiebreak and took it home for us.”
In the longest match of the evening, Danville’s Austin Allen bested Ray Shewmaker 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 at No. 2 singles.
Danville (7-7) has one more match this season with Greencastle before beginning sectional play next week.
“We’re going to need all the time we can get (to prepare),” Foster said. “I know Brownsburg, Plainfield and Avon are all very tough teams. They play in a lot tougher conference than we do and their daily competition and even in practices is going to be something that we can’t hardly match, but we’re going to give it our best shot.”