Logansport’s boys tennis team got a first-hand look at No. 1-ranked and three-time defending state champion Carmel on Wednesday in the Kokomo Regional final.
The Greyhounds won 5-0 with the Berries taking only three games in the match.
No. 1 singles player Bryan Zehner was the only Berry to win a game in a 6-1, 6-2 loss.
“He battled and was in some games. He was down 3-2 in the second set and was hoping to get a couple more games but the kid turned it up a notch,” LHS coach Mike Montgomery said.
The Logan coach said Lucas Eastburn played the second most competitive match of the day at No. 3 singles.
“He got a lot of games to deuce and had a chance to win some games,” Montgomery said.
The Berries finish 18-4 on the season. Montgomery noted seniors Zehner and No. 1 doubles player Dustin Clements were starters on teams that won 17, 17 and 18 games during their careers. Senior No. 2 singles player Nathaniel King was a starter the last two years.
The Berries finished runner-up in the North Central Conference this year, their best finish in years. They were edged by No. 26-ranked Marion 3-2 in their regular-season match.
“Our program has come a ways. A lot of that is getting kids in tennis in middle school,” Montgomery said. “We’re facing kids that play year round every day that have been playing tennis since they were 4 or 5. Some of these kids have some skills mastered at 11 or 12 and we’re starting at 11 or 12.
“We were talking to a guy from Carmel and they said they have a kid playing at St. Joe that didn’t play on their varsity team. ... They’ve got over 4,800 kids now, 1,200 or more per class.”
Zehner, who plans to play at Trine, finished his varsity career 55-10 despite missing several matches his sophomore year with a stress fracture in his foot. Montgomery said Zehner was 2-0 in doubles as a freshman, 9-1 as a sophomore in singles, 24-4 at No. 1 singles as a junior and 19-5 this season at No. 1 singles and 1-0 at No. 1 doubles.
“In the time I’ve been here, Scott Montgomery, Adam Van Zee and Bryan are the three best tennis players,” Montgomery said.
The future for the program remains bright. Montgomery said Zach Overway, Cass McClure and Angelo Scagnoli will be ready for varsity spots next year. Eastburn, Kaleb Overway and Matt Jennings will have a shot at the No. 1 singles spot. Sophomore Jared Cole earned a varsity spot this year at No. 2 doubles and Montgomery said that he is at a point where he could move up in doubles or singles next season.
“We won’t have anybody like a Zehner but to me we’ll have seven players right there to make a solid team,” Montgomery said.
Bremen 8, Winamac 1
Winamac lost to Class A No. 20 Bremen at the Argos Sectional.
The Warriors held Bremen out of goal for the first 10, but then the bad luck that has plagued them all season, showed up according to coach Mark Eber.
Collecting a Warriors clear that hit their own player, Bremen powered the ball right back on goal for a 1-0 lead. Bremen looked every bit of its ranking as it collected two more goals after clearing passes hit other Warrior defenders and were fired into the net. Three more traditional goals ran the Lion lead to 6-0 at half.
Winamac got on the board in the second half off of a Jorden Bitterling free kick but lost 8-1 to end its season.
“It’s a bittersweet end to a very tough season,” Eber said. “The kids played their butts off. It would have been easy to just mail it in but the kids that went out there tonight refused to do that.”
Eber is stepping down after the season after a two-decade run as the coach.
“I’m proud of each of them. The seniors will be tough to replace, but whoever is coaching this team next fall will have some serious talent to work with, but some big holes to fill too. The end after 20 seasons hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m sure it will way too soon.”