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Cougars edge out Panthers netters



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North Harrison doubles player Gage Arnold smashes a winner across the net while teammate Brad Nowak covers the back line. The pair would win their match over Corydon Central in three sets. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)
September 25, 2013 | 10:56 AM

There was little room for error when Corydon Central and North Harrison matched up last Tuesday in boys' tennis.

Three of the five courts needed three sets to determine the winners on a sunny day over the Corydon courts.

North Harrison, backed by three wins, took the team bragging rights with a 3-2 decision over its rivals.

Most of the attention turned to the top two courts, with No. 1 singles and doubles action highlighting the competition.

As he has done much of the season, Andrew Dones, North Harrison's top player, came away with another win.

"I was a little tired from the match before," Dones said, having played at Eastern (Pekin) the day prior. "I could have executed a little better, but I still played pretty well after game two."

Dones had to play better in the second game after Corydon Central's Quinton Coffman gave him plenty to handle. Despite Dones winning the first set, Coffman was able to break his opponent in game two to win 7-5. In the third set, Dones found form and won 6-3.

"I started to move my serves around and try to make different patterns and shots," Dones said of game three. "(Coffman) played really good defense and hit some good shots."

During the summer, Dones said he played a lot of tennis and has worked to improve his net skills while adding various shots. He has suffered just one loss, to Scottsburg, on the season.

On the doubles court, North Harrison's Brad Nowak and Gage Arnold rolled to a first-set win in quick time, 6-1. The second set, however, saw Corydon Central's team of Jeremy Buess and Nick Keith rally to take the second, 7-5. In the decisive third, North Harrison's duo won 6-2.

"We started out well and then Corydon stepped up and showed us what they had," Arnold said. "They gave us all we could handle. There was a lot of energy and smack talk. It was one of the harder matches we had to work for."

Arnold said they had to overcome unforced errors in game two and adjust to better placed shots in the third.

"We're 11-1 right now, but we have some tough ones coming up with Silver Creek and Providence," Arnold said. "We're good at the net, being taller and athletic."

North Harrison's third win came in No. 3 singles. Dylan Slucher made his varsity debut at the position and came away with a two-set win over Corydon Central's Clayton Schreck. After earning the first set 6-2, Slucher had to work hard to take the second. Engaging in a back-and-forth second set, they had to go to a tie-breaker to decide the winner. The North Harrison freshman had little trouble in the decider, winning 7-1.

Corydon Central was able to pick up two wins, the first coming in No. 2 singles. Ryan Price was up to the task, defeating North Harrison's Craig Waynescott 6-0, 6-4.

Kyle McPhillips and Jack Taylor earned Corydon Central another win, playing a long match against North Harrison's Ryan Dones and Cameran Higdon. The Panthers pair won the opener, 6-2, but struggled in the second, dropping it 6-1.

Playing much more evenly in the third, they were forced to a tie-breaker that was eventually won by McPhillips and Taylor, 10-8.

"We're doing pretty good," Andrew Dones said of the team. "We're a little younger and inexperienced in spots, but we have a lot of freshmen moving up."

North Harrison will host Providence today (Wednesday) then travel to Charlestown tomorrow. Up next for Corydon Central is a trip to Lanesville on Monday.

Twitter: @CoryDemSports

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