Win or lose, I was proud to be a part of last night’s tennis match versus Northwestern. The level of play and excitement is a testament to what we have to look forward to at sectional. It was a true joy watching these young men lay it out on the line in a nearly four-hour match. Three of the matches would go three sets and one of them was a very competitive two-setter.
The most one sided affair featured the highest level of play at #1 singles. Jon Callane is just so consistent and such a good mover and this troubled his opponent. Jon’s opponent, Cole Wise, is a talented and tall up-and-comer, but Jon was just too solid for Cole last night. Jon’s experience, variety, and athleticism prevailed in a 6-1, 6-1 victory. This was the first match to finish and it helped set the tone for the Kats.
Next to strike was Northwestern’s #2 doubles team. Jacob Walker and Brandon Hansen played really high level tennis in their first set. They were up and close to taking the set at 5-4. So close! Unfortunately there was a momentum swing and we just struggled to get it back. A little cleaner play and that is their match! The final score of that match was 7-5, 6-3.
With the score leveled at 1-1, the next three matches would be nailbiters that went distance.
The #1 doubles team of Miki Sanchez and Drew Swain played lights out tennis in the first set winning it in dominant fashion. This set featured the highest level of play from the Kats. The boys played so well in their first set 6-2 win, but couldn’t quite maintain it in the second. Northwestern’s most experienced point is at #1 doubles. They feature two seniors that battled back to take the second by the score of 6-3. This forced a third set. Kokomo regained momentum to go up 3-0, 4-1, and 5-2. This sounds like big leads, but technically it is only one break of serve. Northwestern was able to show their experience in regaining the break and momentum to go up 6-5. I was proud our boys didn’t give up though. They fought back forcing a final tiebreaker at 6-6 in the third. The boys battled, but couldn’t quite get it done in the tie break. This would give Northwestern a 2-1 lead in the team match.
While this action was taking place both #2 singles Taylor Duncan and #3 singles Ty Lauderbaugh would find themselves in grueling battles.
Next to strike for Kokomo was Duncan. Taylor lost the first set in a one-sided affair in which his opponent was hot and Taylor couldn’t seem to rattle his cage. This would change though as Taylor ran down ball after ball. Taylor’s hustle, heart, and grit earned him much praise from the home crowd. There is no quit in Taylor and he battled back after being down a set and down in the second set to force a second set tiebreaker. This would prove to be a very close tie break. Taylor was able to rise to the occasion and sneak it out by the score of 7-5. This would force a third and final set for Taylor. Hyped and fired up, Taylor’s hustle had proved to be too much for his opponent. Taylor continued to take the momentum to close out the match in the final set by the score of 6-1. Awesome job, Taylor!
Ty was also involved in an amazing match that would break the team score that was tied 2-2. Ty won a very long, grueling and back-and-forth first set by the score of 6-4. This set was nearly an hour and a half long! After a long and grueling set, Ty started to look a little flat and his legs appeared heavy. Ty dropped the second set by the score of 6-3. As a coach this is when I started to question the shape our boys were in. Ty would go to show me that coach was wrong and that I had ran him enough this season ;-). Ty’s feet and game came alive in the third to take the final set by the score of 6-0. This sealed the deal for the Kats 3-2! Way to go Ty!
The JV would also maintain their outstanding season winning by the score of 4-3. Not everyone had their best night, but that’s what teammates are there for. We lift each other up on the nights when others struggle. Singles winners included Isaac Elkin and Kye Gamble. Doubles winners included Caleb Wallace/Griffin Hulet and C.J. Washburn/Ari Leger. Great job guys!
The varsity moved to 6-2 on the season and the JV 7-1. Really proud to be a WildKat tonight!!! Way to go boys!!! You showed a lot of heart and fight!!!
– Coach Flanary