For The Tribune

Trinity Lutheran’s tennis players were unable to string enough games together to pull out a win against Southwestern (Shelby) at home Thursday afternoon in a 5-0 loss.

Andrew Rodriquez at No. 1 singles, and Jonathan Keith at No. 2 singles gave the Cougars their best chances to get in the win column.

Rodriquez won three games in the first set against Dakota Ebersole before losing 6-0 in the second set.

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Cougars coach Mark Voss said he felt like Rodriquez got off to a good start.

“Andrew, at No. 1, had a really good first set,” Voss said. “It kind of got away from him there in the second set. He didn’t get a game there in the second, and that was unfortunate.”

Keith lost 6-2, 6-4 to Caleb Terrell.

“At No. 2 singles, Jonathan battled strong throughout both sets,” Voss said. “He played pretty well,” Voss said. “I felt like he could have taken advantage a little bit more than what he did. He’s out of gas now. He gave it all he had. I can’t complain about his effort.”

The Cougars’ Tanner Prewitt lost 6-0, 6-2 to Isaac Bush at No. 3 singles.

“He played pretty well there in the second set,” Voss said. “Once he figured out that he could lob on that boy he forced him to move forward and backwards more than side-to-side. He was a quick player side-to-side. We tried to move him front-to-back after that.”

The Spartans had more experience at doubles than the Cougars as Bailey Baker and Hunter Morgan managed to win only one game at No. 1, while Pierce McCammon and Josiah Foster did not win any games at No. 2 doubles.

“(The Southwestern coach) told me that they have 13 kids and he was playing seniors on JV,” Voss said. “The talent level was there for them. They played well. They’re going to be a contender in their sectional.”

Voss said he enjoyed coaching seniors Rodriquez and Prewitt for the past two years.

“They meant everything to the program these last two years,” Voss said. “They kind of took the bulls by the horns with the younger guys, and showed them what they needed to be doing, and helped me immensely in the program as far as what we all needed to be doing as a team.

“I sure hate to see them go. They were here when I came here, and now they’re leaving and I wish them good luck in whatever they choose to do in life. I’m sure they’ll be successful.”

Trinity will take a record of 3-11 into the Seymour Sectional that will begin Wednesday.

The sectional pairings will be announced Monday night.

“We need confidence,” Voss said. “We just need to get off earlier and have confidence that sustains through the match. It seems like if we get down a couple of games, get behind a couple by two games or more in our set we’re not there.

“We need to come back from that. We need to fight early, get out ahead, get a little confidence and build on that.”

The Cougars lost to sectional opponents Brownstown Central and Austin during the season, but did not face Seymour or Scottsburg.

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