After a couple of hard conference losses earlier this week, and a slew of minor injuries on the men’s tennis team, tonight’s match against Martinsville was going to be an uncertain one. Conference matches for the Hawks are always tough, and going into this match the mindset for the boys was no different.
But there was still hope.
Falling to the Artesians 0-5 last year was a lingering thought, but Martinsville also had a major change themselves. Having 6 seniors last year and only ten players total, no one really knew what to expect for this year. And so the boys walked in with hope for a change…a change that might tip the odds into their favor.
And for once, it finally did. And the boys walked away with a 3-2 victory over the Artesians, the Hawks’ first Mid-State conference win in over five years.
Martinsville, like the Hawks, are in a season of building and rebuilding. A feeling our team is no stranger to. And needless to say, both teams were hungry for a win. And it was a close win, filled with fight and consistency on both ends of the court. Every spot counted, and every game mattered.
But in the end, Decatur managed to walk away with the win.
First off the court was sophomore Charlie Tran at #1 singles. After a lot of long rallies, and a battle to come back in the second set, Tran eventually fell to senior Jake Dipert 1-6, 3-6, giving Martinsville a 1-0 lead.
Next to answer back were #2 doubles team of junior Austin Hardin and sophomore Dakota Atwood for the Hawks, who walked off the court relatively unscathed with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over freshman duo Gage Jessee and Ben McConnell, putting the score back at 1-1.
Next off was #1 doubles combo of senior Casey Martin and junior Miles Webb, who made consistent shots, played the net well, and walked away with a 6-0, 6-1 win against freshmen Aiden O’Connor and Aiden Bunnell, giving the Hawks a 2-1 advantage.
Everything came down to #2 singles and #3 singles. At #2 singles, senior Will Sommers fought hard against senior Gus Eaton. Still recovering from injury, he struggled early and dropped the first set quickly to Eaton, 0-6. But, he wasn’t done yet. After a bit of reset both mentally and physically, Sommers made a strong comeback and took a 3-0 lead. But fatigue and stress on an injured leg brought back the battle and he eventually dropped the second set to Eaton, 5-7. That put the teams tied at 2-2.
#3 singles decided it all, but eventually junior Seth Fitzpatrick used consistency and a cool head to bring down senior Cameron Owens of Martinsville, 6-0, 6-0, bringing home the first victory of the season for the Hawks and an end to a long drought for the Hawks in the Mid-State boys tennis competition. It’s a match that the team will not soon forget.
JV also took home a win for the Hawks, with lone singles representative sophomore Ernesto Rodriguez bringing home a victory over his freshman opponent, Zach Gross, with a score of 8-1.
Tonight’s conference match was a welcomed breath of fresh air on a fairly tough run of matches so far this year. But, many matches still await and the Hawks are interested to see what the next steps will be. The next matches for the Hawks will be a dual match against conference opponents Franklin Community and Greenwood at Franklin on Saturday. Come out and cheer on the Hawks!