Brownstown Central’s boys tennis team started out strong against Trinity Lutheran on Tuesday afternoon by winning the first set at all five positions and went on to a 4-1 victory.
Braves Coach Donnie Thomas said he liked the way his team opened the match.
“They kept the ball in play pretty well,” he said. “There are some things they need to tweak and work on. In middle school, that’s all you’re taught is keep the ball in play, and my three freshmen were doing that.”
Trinity’s point came at No. 2 singles, where Solomon Hall defeated Smith Hackman 4-6, 7-5, 10-8 in a super tiebreaker.
“Smith had some tough luck,” Thomas said. “He came back in the tiebreaker and made it close. I think if he could have pulled even, he could have pulled it out.”
Trinity coach Kable Walton said, “Both players got real tight, and Solomon was able to eek it out 10-8. He had me on the edge of my seat. I’m excited to see him win this. It’s good to see him have a little self-belief and get the win today.”
Thomas had freshmen, Pierson Wheeler, Hackman and Lane Steward, at the singles positions. Ethan Davis sat out the match after experiencing cramps at Borden on Monday night.
Wheeler moved up to No. 1 singles for the Braves and knocked off Ryan Kleman 6-1, 6-0, and Steward at No. 3 singles was a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Evan Hunt.
Hunt has played both singles and doubles in his first season playing tennis for the Cougars.
“I’ve got friends who play tennis, so that is why I decided to play tennis,” Hunt said. “I think it’s a lot of fun, and I get to go on bus rides with my friends.”
He said he prefers singles, where he has a record of 4-3.
“I like singles a lot more because it’s more fitted to how I play,” he said. “My skill set wasn’t the best for doubles, so I talked to the coach and the team about it. I tried singles, and I’ve been doing a lot better at singles than I was at doubles. In doubles, I would hit the ball at the person that was setting at the net. I like to play on the baseline most of the time. I like playing the whole court. I just try to battle. I’m glad I decided to play tennis, for sure.”
The Braves swept the doubles with Connor Gwin and Bryce Reaser topping Nathan Voelker and Cameron Greunwald 6-4, 6-3 at No. 1, and Grant Elliott and Nick Minton won 6-0, 6-1 over Nathan Finke and Will Gossman at No. 2.
Elliott, who has played both singles and doubles matches this fall, said he prefers singles.
“I think I’m most successful at doubles,” he said. “I do like having a partner. Communicating is extremely important, especially when you’re playing front. I try to never look back so I don’t know what’s happening behind me, so that’s why it is extremely important for my partner when he’s back to communicate with me so I know whether to go to the right or left. My height helps me a lot.”
Elliott said it is also important to win the first set.
“Because when you’re down a set, it’s a huge mental obstacle that you have to overcome. Playing a third set requires a lot of endurance,” he said.
Tuesday’s win increased the Braves’ record to 7-4.
“I’m really proud of this team,” Elliott said. “It’s a hard game mentally. There is a lot to think about in a short amount of time. You have a short reaction time. It takes a lot of practice and years to master.”
Walton was hoping for better opening sets for his team.
“I think especially at No. 3 singles, (Hunt) kind of felt the pressure early,” he said. “The other guy had a few more tools at his disposal than my first-year player did. I felt No. 1 doubles was pretty tight, and No. 2 was fairly decisive.”
The Cougars (4-5) will play at Hauser on Thursday.
Brownstown’s Mid-Southern Conference match Thursday against Eastern has been postponed because of COVID-19. The Braves will play in a tournament at Scottsburg on Friday and Saturday.