For The Tribune

Scottsburg swept its singles matches and defeated Seymour 4-1 Tuesday afternoon on the Owls’ courts in a battle between sectional rivals.

Owls coach Brad Emerson said the match turned out to be highly competitive, like he expected.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Emerson said. “Going into the first match I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. We had great efforts, especially on the doubles side, getting one at No. 1 doubles.”

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Grant Handloser and Josiah Rudge picked up the Owls’ lone point with a 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 No. 1 doubles win against Jordan Schuler and Isaiah Walker.

“They lost the first set, and they looked a little out of it, but in the second they fought back and won it, and won the third and that’s a big step for them,” Emerson said.

“That’s a good, mental motivation for them, and that will carry forward the rest of the season.”

Seymour’s Hao Li and Sam Voss lost the opening set at No. 2 doubles, then rallied to win the second set before falling in the third in a 7-3 tiebreaker.

“Two doubles really don’t play doubles; they were more singles players during the preseason. I put them together through the challenge matches; they deserved to be in there, and they looked like they were having fun,” Emerson said.

“That went three sets, and they lost in the third set, so that was encouraging.”

At singles, Seymour’s No. 1 Alex Berry, No. 2 Ty McCory and No. 3 Adam Berry couldn’t string enough points together to win a set.

Alex Berry fell 6-2, 6-4 to Isaac Everitt, McCory lost 7-5, 6-3 to Mason Noble, and Adam Berry fell 6-3, 6-0 to Caleb White.

“We have a little experience there,” Emerson said. “Alex Berry at No. 1, has three years now. Last year he played more No. 1 singles for me, so he has a little bit of experience there. Ty played three singles, and he’s stepping up a notch.

“They had opportunities; they’ve just got to connect on a few more, and we’ll be good there. Adam Berry fought real tough for his first tennis match. He doesn’t have a lot of tennis experience, but he’s a good athlete, and I’m real pleased with his effort.

“It’s kind of a growing thing. I consider this kind of a hockey season where we’ll get to the playoffs (sectional), and hopefully we’ll be ready then with these guys, and hopefully we’ll have a different result.”

Moving forward, Emerson said he wants to see his team close-out matches.

“We just need to work on finishing points, keeping the rally going, setting up the point a little bit better, and then when we have the opportunity to finish, go ahead and finish, finish with a volley, a mid-court kill shot or whatever it is,” Emerson said.

“Sometimes, they get down on themselves too easy. That’s the other thing. They make a few mistakes, and they start steamrolling, and they’ve got to learn to overcome that and keep fighting.”

Emerson said the Owls need to be more consistent on their serves.

“Serves have always been kind of an issue a little bit,” he said.

“They’re not pros, so they have a tendency to just want to get the ball in. The lack of confidence there is just from not playing matches and not getting a lot of match time in.

“We’ve worked on locations and stuff in practice, trying to get them to serve to different places, and we’ll just keep working on that stuff. As they work on that during the season they’ll be more comfortable doing that in matches.”

The Owls will try to even their record Thursday at Providence.

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.