Cougars fall to FC in sectional final
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
That constant was no exception when Floyd Central hosted the Indiana High School Athletic Association boys’ tennis sectional last week.
The No. 14 Highlanders, who came into post-season play having won 35 consecutive sectional titles, drew their way onto the shorter end of the five-team bracket. When they began postseason play on Thursday, they started out with a 5-0 slugging of Salem, powered by perfect 6-0 sweeps at all three singles flights.
Joseph Howell and Nate Hynes had a similarly easy time at No. 2 doubles, taking down the Lions’ Jacob Rose and Cameron Albertson in straight 6-1 sets.
The top doubles flight was a slight issue, but Braden Poe and Jeremy Mueller turned things around against the Lions’ Nicholas Ingram and Hunter Trainor to win in three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
That sent them to Friday’s championship match, where they confronted North Harrison.
The Cougars had a longer road to the championship match, opening the five-team tournament last Wednesday when they swept Eastern (Pekin) on all five courts.
A day later, the Cougars returned to confront area rival Crawford County, defeating the Wolfpack 4-1.
The Wolfpack’s lone victory came at the top singles flight, which saw Isaac Nickelson top the Cougars’ Zach Miller.
Much like their foes in the first round, the Cougars stood little chance against the Highlanders, being swept aside on all five courts.
The only Cougars to win a single game came from Miller at No. 1 singles and Mason Swarens at No. 3 singles. Miller went winless in the opening set before taking a win in the second, falling to Highlanders’ ace Ben Lammert 6-0, 6-1. Swarens saw a mirrored score against Preston Bickel as the former was brushed aside 6-1, 6-0.
The Cougars’ Jakob Hoyer wasn’t as lucky as his fellow singles competitors, falling to the Highlanders’ Riley Doddridge in straight 6-0 sets.
Doubles competition was a similar formality for the Highlanders as Mueller and Poe took down Jace Martin and Dawson Allen (No. 1 doubles) and Howell and Hynes brushed by Blake Kellems and Colten Smith by identical scores of 6-0.
With the victory over the Cougars, the Highlanders secured their 36th consecutive sectional title. That is second-longest active sectional winning streak in the state, with Munster holding the lead after winning its 42nd consecutive sectional crown this year.
With the sectional streak still in tact, the Highlanders turned their sights toward the site of the Silver Creek regional yesterday (Tuesday), where they confronted rival New Albany, which the Highlanders swept 5-0 on Aug. 16. The winner of that match will take on the winner of the Jeffersonville-Borden match today at 4:30 p.m.