Owls beat Eagles 3-2 to capture sectional title

Seymour boys tennis head coach Brandon Davis woke up Friday morning with text messages from his team.

“Coach, we want it,” Davis read off of his phone.

Davis knew his players would be ready to go Friday night when they played Austin for the sectional championship.

The Owls were able to top the Eagles 3-2 to capture their first sectional title since 2019. It’s the first under Davis, who is in his second year as head coach.

“It feels great,” Davis said. “Words can’t describe it. It was a good win. It was a hard-fought win. They did what they needed to do.”

One year ago, these two teams met for the sectional title, and it was Austin that was able to win the match 3-2.

The Owls felt like they let that match slip away, and senior Jack VonDielingen said the team had been using that as motivation this whole year.

“We’ve been thinking about that all season about how they took it away from us last season,” he said. “We wanted to get revenge this season, and we got it.”

VonDielingen and Joe Schmidt were the first off of the courts Friday, winning 6-1, 6-1 at one doubles. VonDielingen said as the season went on, he and Schmidt grew a lot together in terms of communication and playing stronger at the net.

The next off of the court was Hunter Heckman at two singles, who won his match 6-3, 6-2. That meant Seymour needed one more win, and that came at two doubles.

Parker Thompson and Drew Handloser won 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

“It’s great,” VonDielingen said. “We’ve been playing together forever now all these seniors. Two dubs came and really brought it today, closed it our for us.”

Eli Meyer lost a tough 7-5, 7-5 battle at one singles, and Reuben Kruse also had a tough 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) loss at three singles.

“Overall, we grew on our mental awareness on our game,” Davis said of his team’s improvement this season. “We didn’t get in our heads and give up. My seniors brought energy, leadership and talent they’ve been using all four years. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

With the win, the Owls will advance to regional next week, where they will take on Bloomington South on the Panthers’ courts.

Seymour has yet to play South this season, but Davis knows it will be a challenge.

“Looking forward to them,” Davis said. “They’re a tough team, so we’re looking forward to that.”

When Davis referred to his senior’s leadership, it was evident when VonDielingen was talking about Friday’s win. He played at Trinity Lutheran his freshman year, so VonDielingen wasn’t on the team when the Owls last won in 2019.

This was VonDielingen’s first sectional title, and as good as it felt, he made the message clear that he doesn’t want this to be it for Seymour.

“It’s great getting this sectional, but we‘ve got to go to regional and get our heads straight,” VonDielingen said. “We’re not done yet.”