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October 12, 2013

South boys tennis hopes to break through against No. 3 Park Tudor in today's semistate

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute South boys tennis coach Bill Blankenbaker hopes the third time will indeed be the charm for his team today at Center Grove High School’s courts in Greenwood.

For the previous two seasons, Blankenbaker’s Braves have reached the semistate, only to be eliminated from the state tournament by Park Tudor. Bringing a 19-4 record, they’ll face No. 3-ranked Park Tudor (13-4) in the semistate again today and Blankenbaker hopes the recent trend can be reversed, although he knows it won’t be easy.

“Their No. 1 player [Daniel Rayl] is supposed to be real good and their No. 2 player {Scott Thygesen} is supposed to be real good and they’re solid at all the other positions,” he said Friday.

Park Tudor defeated Ben Davis 5-0 and Zionsville 4-1 to win the Avon Regional this week, while South blanked Fountain Central and Crawfordsville 5-0 to emerge triumphant from the Crawfordsville Regional.

“I thought everybody played really well against Crawfordsville,” Blankenbaker assessed. “That was a good thing — all the way up and down the line. … I thought they played super.”

Franklin Central and Northeastern will clash in today’s other semifinal on the same courts at the same time — 10 a.m.

Asked what his players will need to do against Park Tudor to advance to the state finals Oct. 18-19 at Indianapolis North Central, Blankenbaker replied: “I think they’re going to have to believe that they can win. We’re going to have to play well.”

South’s lineup is expected to remain the same today — junior Nathan Bogle (18-2) at No. 1 singles, senior Krishan Kumar (22-4) at No. 2 singles, junior Scott Kellar (16-6) at No. 3 singles, junior Trace Harruff and senior Reed Crawford (14-12) at No. 1 doubles and Luke Yeagley and Matt Gonzalez (16-2 together) at No. 2 doubles.

Bogle will be playing with a heavy heart because his father Jim died Thursday morning. Funeral services will be Sunday.

“I think he’ll do just fine,” Blankenbaker said of his No. 1 singles player. “He’s been with his team. We’re his family away from family. I think being with the boys is good for him. We had a good time after the regional and we’ve had a good time after practices. We consider him a big part of our tennis family.”

Blankenbaker mentioned that Park Tudor is being guided by former Indianapolis North Central coach Spencer Fields for the first time this season.

“They’ve still got some of the same good players,” he added.

IHSAA boys tennis semistate

Today at Center Grove

10 a.m. — Park Tudor (13-4) vs. Terre Haute South (19-4)

10 — Franklin Central (14-9) vs. Northeastern (20-1)

Admission — $5 per person.


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