Eagles fall to Bulldogs in tennis sectional final
Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]
For much of its history, the New Albany tennis team has been one of Southern Indiana’s premier programs. From winning the state’s first-ever boys’ tennis state championship in 1967 to winning the last 17 straight sectionals, New Albany is one of the first that pops up when one mentions high school tennis in Kentuckiana.
In 10 of the last 11 years of the Bulldogs’ 17-year reign, one foe has continually stood in their way of keeping that streak alive: Lanesville, which sometimes has been a true foe while at others has been a mere foil. The Eagles served as the latter in this year’s edition of the post-season saga as the Bulldogs swept the Eagles 5-0 to make it 18 consecutive sectional titles.
Before the Eagles could confront the Bulldogs, they had to get through a pair of county rivals, starting with Corydon Central last Wednesday. The Eagles powered their way to a sweep over the Panthers, starting when juniors Jack Crosby and Dawson Teeter, along with sophomore Ben Austin, routed Panthers’ juniors Cooper Shireman (6-2, 6-1) and Elias Kvalheim (6-3, 6-0) and senior Cooper Desmond (6-2, 6-1) at all three singles courts, respectively. At doubles, senior Ty Tidstrom and junior Ethan Patterson handled Panthers’ juniors Sam Cox and Ryan Hamilton 6-4, 6-1, while Eagles’ junior John Albers and sophomore Landon Campbell defeated the Panthers’ freshman tandem of Thomas Wilkinson and Trey Wiley 7-5, 6-2.
A day later, the Eagles had a more difficult time as they confronted rival South Central, which drew the bye in the five-team sectional. Rebels’ juniors Ty Jones and Craig Simpson made the match challenging for the Eagles as they downed Crosby and Teeter 6-1, 6-0 and 6-4, 6-3, respectively. Austin had a much easier time at No. 3 singles as he dispatched Rebels’ freshman Peyton Tyree in straight 6-0 sets.
The Eagles’ latest trip to the sectional final was decided in doubles action as Albers and Campbell dispatched the Rebels’ freshman duo of Carson Ridge and Briar Coffman 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles. At the top doubles flight, Tidstrom and Patterson sealed the match for the Eagles by defeating Rebels’ senior Colin Cunningham and sophomore Ethan Hedden 6-3, 6-3.
Friday night was not fun for the Eagles as they confronted the defending champion Bulldogs as John Fulmer led the charge by defeating Crosby 6-0, 6-1. JT Zimmerman and Cooper Anderson followed by defeating Teeter 6-0, 6-2 and Austin 6-4, 6-1 respectively.
At No. 1 doubles, Tidstrom and Patterson, despite being the Eagles’ top performers in the sectional, stood no chance against the Bulldogs’ Noah Johnson and Gavin Hamilton and fell 6-1, 6-0. Albers and Campbell gave the Bulldogs the most trouble at No. 2 doubles, forcing a decisive third set before falling to Ben Siegel and Carson Chandler 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
With the victory, the Bulldogs were set to confront rival Floyd Central, which won its 35th straight sectional crown a day earlier. That took place at the Floyd Central Regional yesterday (Tuesday).