For the fourth consecutive postseason match, the Center Grove boys tennis team didn’t drop a point.
In fact, the No. 11 Trojans dropped just one game in its three singles matches during a 5-0 victory over Franklin Central Wednesday in the regional championship indoors at UIndy Tennis Center.
The match was moved from Center Grove courts because of the rain.
“I was pleased with our focus in matches like this one, much better than I have been in some others,” Center Grove coach Ivan Smith said. “We got off in a timely matter. We got some resistance in doubles and we weathered it. I think we got behind in both of them, but we were able to come back. We need a little resistance into the opponent we’ll play on Saturday.”
Center Grove (16-6) will face the winner of No. 7 Zionsville and No. 23 Brebeuf Jesuit in Saturday’s semistate at Center Grove. Zionsville and Brebeuf are scheduled to play today at UIndy after being rained out on Wednesday. Brebeuf edged Center Grove during the regular season.
“In the draw, I wanted to play the other top team in the semistate, not someone we could beat easily,” Smith said. “If we were going to advance to the state finals, I really wanted to earn it.”
Center Grove’s top three singles players lost one game between them. Freshman Daksh Patel dropped one game in the second set against Hayden Hege at No. 2 singles. Freshman Tyler Lane shut out Landon Carlisle at No. 1 singles and sophomore Loc Pram blanked Ethan Jackson at the No. 3 slot.
Pram was subbing for junior Evan Davis, who is battling ankle issues, for the second consecutive match.
“Loc has a little more offense than (Davis) does and (Davis) has more defense, but with his ankle the way it is, he didn’t need to be running down a lot of balls and be out there a long time,” Smith said.
Smith said it will be determined before the semistate match if Davis can play Saturday.
The Trojans’ No. 1 doubles team of senior Bennett Strain and sophomore Max Williams won 6-3, 6-2 over Kole Brewer and Wyatt Gilliland. The No. 2 duo of senior Connor Smith and Carson Bush had the longest match, topping Aaron Mahoney and Joshua Summitt 6-3, 6-3.
“Connor being a senior provides some steadiness for Carson, who has a lot of talent, but in the beginning the game against some opponents was a little fast for him,” Smith said. “It’s slowed down now, and that’s one reason why they’ve done well. Connor only got in one varsity match last year, but he’s really come on. Besides his leadership, he’s played extremely well. He’s a lot more aggressive than what his personality was when he was a junior. He can really press for points and hit big shots. He’s come a real long way.”
Smith said he and Bush have been meshing well in recent matches.
“Our playing styles fit together and we’ve been playing well,” said Smith, who played No. 1 doubles on junior varsity in 2020. “We’ve been finishing points really well.”
In the individual singles sectional, Chris Stanley of Roncalli advanced with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Cole Langston of Shortridge.