In the middle of this past tennis season, Andrew Levine switched from singles to join Brandon Hubbard at the No. 1 doubles position for the Seymour Owls.
It turned out to be one of the best moves coach Sharon Wood and the Owls made during the season.
Hubbard and Levine teamed up to post a 10-5 record. They won both of their matches in the Seymour Sectional and advanced to the next level of the tournament at Bloomington High School South.
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“Their only losses came from top teams in the state like Floyd Central, Columbus North, Westfield and Jeffersonville,” Wood said. “Seymour plays a very strong schedule, and this record is outstanding. They were all-conference honorable mention, sectional champions and had a great end-of-season tournament.”
Hubbard and Levine defeated doubles teams from Scottsburg and Austin in the sectional to advance to Bloomington.
They won their first two matches in Bloomington, beating Reece Carlin and Griffin Stidam of Brownstown Central and Jacob Vogel and Justin Ramey of Jennings County.
Those wins advanced them to the regional, where they ran into Marcel Borhi and Ethan Uhls of Bloomington South, and the Seymour pair fell 6-0, 6-1 to end the season.
“Winning those matches in the tournament was tiring, but it was definitely worth it,” Hubbard said.
With their success in the tournament and their overall record, they have been named The Tribune’s co-Jackson County Boys Tennis Players of the Year.
Hubbard is a senior, and Levine is a junior.
“They make a great team because they utilize the strengths of their partner,” Wood said. “Brandon’s big first serve sets Andrew up at the net for the putaway. Andrew’s speed in the back court supports Brandon’s ability to get to the net quicker. Both players worked hard to learn to control and plan their serves to set each other up. This pair is great at closing in on the net to reduce the options of their opponents’ shots.”
Hubbard credits experience to the success he and Levine had together.
“Andrew and I had experience playing together,” Hubbard said. “We played together early in the season, and we played together in some tournaments. We felt comfortable together.”
Hubbard said he felt beating Vogel and Ramey in Bloomington was one of the most enjoyable wins he had.
“We went three sets with them. It was back-and-forth, and either one of us could have won,” he said.
Hubbard said winning the first set is key.
“That’s No. 1, next to hitting the ball over the net, because then you have all the momentum going into the second set,” he said.
He said he enjoys tennis because of the ups and downs.
“If I hit a great shot, the fans were behind me, and if I hit a bad shot, they were still behind me,” he said.
Levine also credited the success he and Hubbard had to their past experience in doubles.
“Brandon had a lot of experience in doubles, and I had a couple good years in doubles,” Levine said. “We played with different teammates, and we were able to join together and play well against other teams. I had a great time playing with Brandon, and I hate to see him go.”
Levine also said getting off to a good start is essential.
“Winning the first set is really important,” he said. “That sets the tone for the whole match. There were times if we could have gotten over the edge and won that first set, it would have given us momentum going into the second and third sets to pull out a win.”
He said he is unsure if he wants to play singles or doubles next fall, which would be with a new partner.
“I want to explore singles a little bit,” Levine said.
Also named to the all-county team were Hunter Heckman and Eli Meyer of Seymour, Ethan Isaacs, Ethan Davis and Cole Shasteen of Brownstown Central and Luke Pollert of Trinity Lutheran.
Heckman played No. 1 singles, while Meyer switched between No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.
Hubbard, Levine and Meyer shared Seymour’s doubles player of the year award, and Heckman was named singles player of the year.
Heckman also was named all-HHC honorable mention.
Isaacs played No. 1 singles and Davis was No. 2 singles for the Braves. Both earned all-Mid-Southern Conference honors. Isaacs had a record of 19-4 this fall, and Davis was 21-2.
Shasteen was named all-conference honorable mention. Isaacs and Shasteen are seniors, and Davis is a junior. Isaacs was named Brownstown’s most valuable player, and Davis received the mental attitude award.
Pollert was named Trinity’s most valuable player.