Going into this sectional, we really had no idea how much potential we really could have to make it far. Knowing that we had lost to two of the three teams 0-5, it wasn’t surprising to know that we were the underdogs of the tournament. But, never having played Scecina throughout the season, it made for a bit of a blind draw not knowing how they have been playing all season. And for the Hawks, it was another night of strong competition, good rallies, lots of good tennis, but an unfortunate loss, bringing the Hawks’ season to a somewhat abrupt end.
Senior AJ Wright has played an incredible season of tennis against the toughest of the tough opponents in the state, and has never wavered from his commitment to the top spot. Despite the losses, he’s always taken on each challenge as a learning experience. In the end, the score said 1-6, 2-6, but the score says nothing about the fight in this young man. Similarly, at three singles, junior Will Sommers fought hard against an opponent who did everything to rally him back with spin and numerous lobs to the back fence. Sommers ended with a 1-6, 3-6 loss that also showed very little of the fight and consistency demonstrated in every game of the match.
At two doubles, it was a tough night for senior Jalen Hennessy and sophomore Miles Webb. Over the course of the season, the strength in the pairing has come from the communication and the encouragement for each other. However, the first set was not as rhythmic as usual and led to a quick 0-6 loss, giving the pair a one set deficit to fight back from. And fight they brought. They were able to start the second set strong, but ended the season with a 0-6, 3-6 loss, giving the team win to Scecina for the finals against Southport.
Freshman Charlie Tran played the best match of the season against his opponent at two singles. Lots of consistency and good rallies brought lots of success in games, winning 6-3, 6-4 against Scecina.
But despite the team loss, one doubles still had a shot to move on individually to the regionals next week, something neither junior Casey Martin or sophomore Austin Hardin took lightly. Early in the season, we never would have thought that this pair would be as solid as they have been. They’ve been consistent and very balanced. And tonight they continued to show us why they are in the one spot.
Every game was back and forth between Decatur and Scecina, a true cat and mouse experience. In both sets, Hardin and Martin fought from down to tie at 6 all, forcing a tiebreak to decide the set. However, after a first set upset 7-5 in the tiebreak, the mentality had to be reset, something the boys did perfectly, bringing the match to another 6-6 forced tiebreak to decide the set. And, sadly, the boys couldn’t finish off their opponents, dropping the second set 6-7 (8-10). But, despite the result, Martin and Hardin played their best match of the season, and knowing neither one is graduating, it gives us great hope for the future seasons.
Though the season is coming to a close for the Hawks, the journey to the end of the road has not been a mundane one. Three months ago, this team started on the Southport courts young in their experience as tennis players. But, in a few short weeks, a team has formed and shown great promise for the future, something many coaches have taken notice of. Very proud of the boys and looking forward to the 2018 season!