Owls fall in regional semifinals

For The Tribune


A day after pulling out an emotional victory against Brownstown Central in the sectional final, Seymour’s boys tennis team couldn’t manage the same heroics in Tuesday’s regional.

Columbus North dropped only 10 games as a team in rolling to a 5-0 victory in the semifinals of the Bloomington North Regional. The Bull Dogs (13-7) will play the host Cougars in the title match at 5 p.m. today.

“It was a fine effort today all across the board,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “I told them to carry over what you did today and carry it over into the next match. I hope they come out confident and ready to play.”

At No. 1 singles, North’s Aditya Mantri had and early 3-0 lead in the first set against Alex Berry, but Berry came back to win the next two games to make it 3-2. Mantri won the final four games to win 6-2, then closed out the match with a 6-2 second set.

“He has been dynamite for me the past couple weeks,” Seymour coach Brad Emerson said of Berry. “He has been hitting the ball with more confidence. He did a great job against Aditya today. The match was a lot closer than the score indicated.”

At No. 2 singles, North’s Kevin Luo downed Ty McCory 6-0, 6-0. In another competitive match at No. 3 singles, North’s Anay Gangal cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win against Adam Berry.

At No. 1 doubles, North’s Nathan VanDeventer and Kevin Lin topped Grant Handloser and Josiah Rudge 6-0, 6-2. At No. 2 doubles, the Bull Dogs’ Daniel Larken and Ammar Khaled downed Sam Voss and Hao Li 6-0, 6-1.

“We went out there and played our best, but Columbus North is a really good team,” Emerson said. “They are strong in a lot of areas, and they know how to exploit our weaknesses. Overall, I was pleased with the effort tonight.”

The Owls finish the season 10-11.

“I think we exceeded a lot of expectations this season,” Emerson said. “Last year, we had five wins; this year we got to 10. With as young as this group is, there was a lot of growing pains, especially at No. 1 singles, and our No. 1 doubles spot after moving up from No. 2 doubles last season. They faced much tougher competition.

“I am really happy with the season and proud of the guys,” he said. “Winning sectional (Monday) night was a very great moment for us.”

James Pence is a sports correspondent for The Republic.