Terre Haute South finished third Saturday in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference boys tennis championships at Ben Davis. But the Braves were so, so very close to playing for the title.
South moved to 13-2 for the year with 4-1 wins over Lawrence North and Ben Davis, but may be haunted by a 3-2 loss to Center Grove.
Terre Haute North finished a close seventh and stands 4-7 for the year. The Patriots lost 3-2 to Center Grove in the first round and Lawrence North in the second. The Patriots bounced back to overpower Pike 4-1 before making a quick exit home.
Carmel won the MIC championship over Center Grove. This is the first year the MIC used a dual-match format, a change from the individual tournament play.
South’s third-place effort was led by Scott Kellar at No. 3 singles and the team of Matt Gonzales and Luke Yeagley at No. 2 doubles with 3-0 records. Krishan Kumar was 2-1 for the day at No. 2 singles.
Kellar, who could not play a week ago due to a back injury, just kept the ball on the court.
“I was struggling with the wind today and it got me down in a set. I just battled and played consistent again and [Ben Davis’ Bryce Hermley] made the errors. The first two matches I played some of the best tennis I ever played,” Kellar said.
Gonzales and Yeagley won all three of their matches in straight sets: 6-2, 6-2 over Lawrence North, 6-4, 6-1 over Center Grove and 6-0, 6-3 over Ben Davis.
South’s No. 1 singles player Nathan Bogle went to the trainer with an aching back immediately after his opening win and did not play again. South coach Bill Blankenbaker put reserves Kyle Refugio and Ryan Chung in the No. 1 spot in the next two matches.
“We brought three reserves and played all three reserves … I’ve got good reserves. We’re deep,” Blankenbaker said.
South-Center Grove was a showdown rematch. South topped Center Grove 3-2 a couple of weeks earlier.
Kellar beat Center Grove’s Peter Golder 6-3, 6-1 and Gonzales and Yeagley earned a 6-4, 6-1 win. The score was tied 2-2 with the No. 2 singles match undecided.
Kumar won the first set 6-4 and Center Grove’s Cam Schoolcraft took the second 6-2. Kumar took an early 4-2 lead in the 10-point tiebreaker, but Schoolcraft took advantage of short returns and charged the net to take a 5-4 lead. Kumar took a 9-8 lead and had match point, but could not keep the ball deep enough and Schoolcraft won 12-10.
“I knew it would be tough. We just barely got by them the last time. I was hoping to win at two [singles] and three [singles] and two doubles, where we won the last time. Then you always hope for any extra [wins]. But Schoolcraft played very well,” Blankenbaker said.
There is no such thing as an easy draw in the MIC tennis championships, which usually features several of the state’s top-ranked teams. North got a tough draw, starting the day with Center Grove.
North’s seventh-place effort was led by the No. 2 doubles team of Lucas Davis and Luke Dugger with a 3-0 day. Davis and Dugger started the day by beating Center Grove 6-3, 2-6, 10-6, then came back to take Lawrence North 1-6, 7-6, 10-8, then closed the day with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Pike.
Harry Williams earned two wins at No. 2 singles. Bouncing back from a straight-set loss to Center Grove, Williams blanked Lawrence North 6-0, 6-0 and closed the long day with a 6-1, 6-0 win against Pike.
Terre Haute South 4, Lawrence North 1
Singles — Nathan Bogle (S) def. Andrew Stark 6-1, 6-3; Krishan Kumar (S) def. Grant Bullerdick 6-1, 6-0; Scott Kellar (S) def. Steven Miller 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles — Eric Gentry-Andrew Satz (LN) def. Reed Crawford-Trace Harruff 6-1, 6-2; Matt Gonzalez-Luke Yeagley (S) def. Nathan Brehm-Glen Shumaker 6-2, 6-3.
Center Grove 3, Terre Haute South 2
Singles — Conner Anderson (CG) def. Kyle Refugio 6-0, 6-0; Cam Schoolcraft (CG) def. Kumar 4-6, 6-2, 12-10; Kellar (S) def. Peter Golder 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles — Vaughn Knutson-Casey Fellers (CG) def. Crawford-Harruff 6-3, 6-4; Gonzalez-Yeagley (S) def. Tye Thixton-Drew Wattermann 6-4, 6-1.
Terre Haute South 4, Ben Davis 1
Singles — Ian Deiters (BD) def. Ryan Chung 6-4, 6-1; Kumar (S) def. Jacob Volbers 6-4, 6-0; Kellar (S) def. Bryce Hernley 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles — Crawford-Harrison Villarreal (S) def. Garrett Bear-Tyler Schaffer 6-3, 6-3; Gonzales-Yeagley (S) def. Quinn Shaffer-Ben Myers 6-0, 6-3.
Center Grove 3, Terre Haute North 2
Singles — Anderson (CG) def. Andrew Farmer 6-1, 6-1; Schoolcraft (CG) def. Harry Williams 6-0, 6-0; Golder (CG) def. Gil Saddig 6-3, 6-0.
Doubles — Keaton Akers-Justin Newton (N) def. Knutson-Fellers 3-6, 6-4, 10-5; Lucas Davis-Luke Dugger (N) def. Thixton-Waltermann 6-3, 2-6, 10-6.
Lawrence North 3, Terre Haute North 2
Singles — Stark (LN) def. Farmer 6-1, 6-1; Williams (N) def. Bullerdick 6-0, 6-0; Wesley Knott (LN) def. Saddig 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles — Gentry-Satz (LN) def. Akers-Newton 6-3, 6-2; Davis-Dugger (N) def. Shumaker-Brehm 1-6, 7-6, 10-8.
Terre Haute North 4, Pike 1
Singles — Farmer (N) def. Stephen Mitchell 7-5, 6-1; Williams (N) def. Brandon Hummel 6-1, 6-0; Brandon Hyatt (P) def. Saddig 7-5, 6-4.
Doubles — Akers-Newton (N) def. Charlie Crouse-Michael Spoelman 6-1, 6-1; Davis-Dugger (N) def. Lucas Sadenwater-Brendan Kernodle 6-0, 6-2.
Next — Terre Haute South (13-2) plays Monday at Bloomington North. Terre Haute North (4-7) plays Thursday at Northview.