What to watch for in Brownstown, Austin tennis sectional match

The Seymour tennis sectional starts today as Brownstown Central takes on Austin on the Owls’ courts at 5 p.m.

Brownstown and Austin are Mid-Southern Conference foes and met once already this season back on Sept. 1. at Austin.

The Eagles were able to top the Braves 3-2 in that match.

Brownstown’s victories came at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. Pierson Wheeler defeated Brayden Furnish 6-0, 7-5 at two singles, and Lane Steward defeated Xander Richie 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 at three singles. At one singles, Austin’s Brendan Hanner was able to beat Smith Hackman 6-0, 6-2.

At one doubles, Austin’s Cameron Richie and Parker Bruce knocked off Connor Gwin and Bryce Reaser 6-3, 6-1. At two doubles, the Eagles’ Brooke Swank and Grayson Spires beat Evan Schneider and Elix Preston 6-2, 6-0.

Austin is the defending sectional champion as the Eagles defeated Seymour 3-2 in the sectional championship one year ago.

The Braves are young in the singles positions as Hackman, Wheeler and Steward are all sophomores. Schneider is also a sophomore, while Gwin, Reaser and Preston provide the experience in the doubles positions as seniors.

Brownstown has been playing solid tennis as of late. The Braves have won their last three dual matches, beating Eastern (Pekin) 4-1, Charlestown 4-1 and Madison 5-0 just two days ago. In between those matches was a fourth-place finish in the Scottsburg Invitational.

Silver Creek won the MSC with an 8-0 conference record. Austin was second at 7-1, and Brownstown was third at 6-2. The Eagles’ lone loss came to Silver Creek, while the Braves’ two losses were to the Dragons and Eagles.

The Braves have an overall record of 9-7 heading into this must-win match today to keep their season alive. Expect Wheeler and Steward to have success in their respective singles positions, which means the Braves need to find one more point to advance.

Gwin and Reaser will be teaming at one doubles for the second-straight year in the sectional, so they hope to be prepared for the moment.

Preston and Schneider are first-time partners this season but have built chemistry up during the season, and Hackman has spent all year at one singles for the first time in his young career. If Wheeler and Steward win their matches, Hackman would love nothing more than to sweep the singles to help the Braves advance.

It won’t be easy, but it should come down to the wire between these two teams today. The winner of this match will advance to the semifinals on Thursday against Scottsburg. Seymour and Trinity Lutheran is the other semifinal match on Thursday.