Last year, with a building team and a new coach, it was all about learning the kind of competition we would face. This year, it was about learning to compete better against the competition we witnessed the previous year and honing in on the skills we needed to perfect in matches to come.
Last year, it was about survival. This year it was about capitalization and confidence. Last year ended with a very discouraging 0-5 loss to conclude a season of many 0-5 losses.
And last year, from top to bottom, every match ended much faster than any person on the team would have wanted. But this year, the matches lasted and remained competitive from beginning to end. And Franklin, coming off of its own losses from last year’s rosters, the match could have been anyones.
But in the end, Franklin proved to be more consistent, and Decatur walked away with a 1-4 loss, but with much higher heads and a much longer and well-fought battle from the year before.
At #1 singles, sophomore Charlie Tran was defeated by senior Josiah Rockey 0-6, 0-6. At #2 singles, senior Will Sommers fought every point to the bitter end, running into many deuces and very long points, but eventually fell short to junior Nathan Tyler 0-6, 1-6.
At #1 doubles, senior Casey Martin and junior Miles Webb continued to drive through each point, but a lot of unforced errors and uncapitalized opportunities left the pair desiring more, and walked away with a 2-6, 1-6 loss against senior duo Adam Johnson and Jared Ross. Due to a recent injury, the #2 doubles lineup had to be shifted a little to accommodate for the loss, and so junior Austin Hardin teamed up with a fresh face from the JV side, sophomore Nolan Spivey. Out of the gate, the team fought well, communicating often and moving around the court. But after all was said and done, it was sophomores Caleb Ross and Jackson Klein that walked away with a 6-0, 6-0 win.
The bright spot of the night for the Hawks was at #3 singles. Junior Seth Fitzpatrick started off a little slow, and senior Jon Ott from Franklin was hot out of the gates. After dropping the first set 3-6, Fitzpatrick figured out some mechanics of his game and started reading in to his opponent a bit more, and was able to come back and win the second set 6-4. Because the match was already decided, both teams decided on a third set tiebreak to finish off the match. And at the beginning of it, Franklin seemed to have a lot figured out with a 7-3 lead over the Hawks. But, consistency made for a battle, and Fitzpatrick was able to best Ott in the next five straight points to make it an 8-7 match. After a double fault and a successful last rally, Fitzpatrick ended with the win, 3-6, 6-4 (10-8) in the final tiebreak.
JV had a tough night of matches. With the injury at the varsity level and a shift in lineup, a lot of chemistry was lost and a lot of experiments were conducted. Though there were no wins, there were definitely a lot of learning experiences, which always proves valuable in the end. And the future is bright. Every match leads to more encouragement and a stronger sense of drive, despite the numbers. The greatest goal our team could ever have is play better than the previous match, and that’s been the name of our game this season. Every match we get better and better, and as a coach there is nothing more special to see: improvement.
Last year was a 0-5. This year was a 1-4. Who knows what next year will look like!
The next match for the Hawks is at home against Beech Grove at 5 PM. Come on out and support your Hawks!