AVON — After downing county rival Plainfield Thursday night, the Brownsburg boys’ tennis team is one match away from a third consecutive sectional championship.
Brownsburg bested Plainfield 5-0 in a match filled with ups and downs, something Brownsburg coach Karen Starkey thinks will help her team, however long it continues in the state tournament.
“That’s the kind of battle that you do want because we know the journey ahead is going to have drama and you have to overcome that,” she said.
No. 2 singles player Jon Class and No. 3 singles player Sam Peterson took the first two matches in straight sets over Plainfield’s Brock Naaman and Nathan Mormino, respectively.
After falling in his first set to Plainfield’s Evan Rink, Brownsburg’s Sam Gentry rallied and took his match 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
“I thought it was key that Sam came off first and then Jon followed and that energy channeled up to Sam,” Starkey said. “That was very obvious, and once he felt that confidence, he played a very clean second and third set.”
Brownsburg’s No. 2 doubles duo of Todd Clark and Michael Clemens also fought through adversity, winning in three sets (5-7, 6-3, 6-0) over Plainfield’s Jacob Hopper and Tyler West.
The tandem of Nick Wilde and Nathan Mehringer won a second set tie break over Plainfield’s Michael Bohney and Jack Cavanaugh at No. 1 doubles to record the pivotal third match and secure a place in the sectional final for the Bulldogs.
Plainfield coach Tony Epkey graduates five of the team’s seven varsity players and said those seniors will be missed.
“We lose our No. 1, 2 and 3 singles players and a member of each of our doubles teams,” Epkey said. “These guys bring a sense of family to the team and it will be tough to replace them.”
Advancing to play the two-time defending sectional champion is county and Hoosier Crossroads Conference rival Avon, as the Orioles took down Mooresville, 5-0.
Like Brownsburg, Avon’s No. 2 and No. 3 singles’ players were the first off the court, handing Avon a 2-0 advantage. Nathan Kesling and Alex Meronk dispatched their opponents in straight sets, giving up just three games between the pair.
Avon’s No. 2 doubles team of Mark Bode and Vitor Hara clinched the match for the Orioles with a two-set tiebreak win.
Ryan Lingle also had a two-set tiebreak match he won for the Orioles, and the No. 1 doubles team of Tyler Habig and Nate Toney took a three-set win.
Brownsburg won the first match between the two rivals with a 5-0 sweep of the Orioles earlier this season, and Avon coach Robert Mize understands the challenge ahead of his team.
“Brownsburg is solid across the board,” Mize said. “They are a quality team, always are, and we geared for both of them. At this point and time we are prepared to play them and wish them the best of luck.”
The Orioles and Bulldog are set to square off at 9 a.m. Saturday at Avon.