Owls soar past Eagles in sectionals

Seymour’s boys tennis team opened the sectional on its home courts Wednesday with a solid victory against Austin.

The Owls won 4-1 against the Eagles.

Coach Brad Emerson said he was happy with the way the team was able to get a win in the first round of sectional play.

“It feels good, and I think the guys were a little nervous,” he said following the win. “Overall, it’s great to get the win and move on to the second round.”

Ty McCory led the Owls at No. 1 singles with a 6-0, 6-2 win against Austin’s Trevor Johnson. Emerson said he was happy that McCory was able to get the win and get it quickly.

“Ty did a great job getting off the court early,” he said. “That gave us a boost.”

Adam Berry defeated Joseph Smith 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 singles. Emerson said Berry was able to overcome a slower start to get the win and provided a cushion by giving the team a 2-0 overall advantage.

“Adam started out a little slow and wasn’t moving as well as he should have, but he picked it up and really finished well,” he said.

Isaac Hardin lost his No. 3 singles match to Gavin Parker 6-2, 6-3. Emerson said Hardin’s movement across the court was not as sharp as usual and that he had difficulties managing the wind. Winds were 10 mph coming from the north, giving players difficulty throughout the evening.

“He was a step slow getting to shots,” he said. “He didn’t play the wind as he should have and struggled on serving.”

Emerson provided Hardin with some encouragement after the match and told him to forget about it and move on.

“I told him that this is over, the match is over and we have tomorrow, and he needs to just get ready for tomorrow and go on,” he said.

Emerson said he was really pleased to see both of his doubles teams win their matches.

At No. 1 doubles, Will Rinehart and Sam Schmidt defeated Cameron McNeely and Chris Thomas by a score of 6-2, 6-4.

In the No. 2 doubles spot, Pablo Jimenez and Trey Hohenstreiter built an early lead and picked up a 6-2, 6-3 win over Jalen Hines and Caleb Weaver.

“I thought it was nice to see both of them win,” he said. “That was really good.”

Emerson said his team did a great job overall at managing the wind and that both teams experienced the same conditions.

“It didn’t give us any more trouble than it did them,” he said. “You have to deal with the wind, and if you were on the south side, you had to hit through the wind more, and if you were on the north side, you had to close faster on floaters, and you can’t be a step slower there.”

Emerson said he noticed the team also seemed nervous opening up sectional play and that he told them to think of the match the same way they think about any other tennis match.

“I told them it’s just another tennis match and don’t put more into it than that,” he said. “The lines are still the same with the same length and the same width, so you just have to get in better position to get better shots.”

Emerson said when players are nervous, their footwork tends to be the first thing to go, causing many difficulties in battling it out for points.

“Your feet don’t move quite as well,” he said.

Emerson said he has identified areas where his team needs improvement if it wants to be able to make a run far into the postseason.

“We need to serve better because we gave up a lot of points through double-faults,” he said. “The guys just need to understand that they’re going to make mistakes but that we need to make less mistakes than our opponents in order for us to win.”

In the semifinals at 4:45 p.m. today, the Owls will face Scottsburg.

“They’re a strong opponent, and it’s going to be a tough match, but we have a good shot at winning,” Emerson said. “They’re a good, quality team.”