Despite his team’s 4-1 win at Columbus East on Wednesday, Columbus North boys tennis coach Kendal Hammel thinks his team will need to play better if it faces the Olympians again in the sectional.

The 16th-ranked Bull Dogs clinched the victory with three wins before a 45-minute lightning delay. After the break, the other two matches went to third-set supertiebreakers.

“We have work to be done,” Hammel said. “I didn’t think our guys played with the intensity that we needed to play with. We got the win and did what we needed to do, but I think we can play and need to play better than what we did tonight.”

North’s Nathan VanDeventer overcame a slow start to give his team a big point at No. 1 singles.

VanDeventer trailed Matt Furnish 2-1 in the first set before winning 11 of the final 12 games to post a 6-2, 6-1 win.

“I think a little nerves set in at the beginning for a little bit, but later on in the match, I played more aggressive and that’s the type of game that I’m comfortable with, and that fits me the most,” VanDeventer said. “So I thought that helped me a lot.”

The Bull Dogs (2-1) also picked up a win at No. 3 singles from Ben Mathew, who beat Ben Kuhlman 6-1, 6-3. North’s Isaac Jackson and Lucas Huang downed Austin Guse and Jackson Stevens 6-0, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles, and Kevin Lin and Ammar Khaled survived Sammy Woolwine and Daniel Kuhlman 7-6 (1), 3-6, (10-4) at No. 1 doubles.

Hammel was most pleased with VanDeventer’s victory.

“Nathan is the one that I was really excited about more than anything tonight,” Hammel said. “That was the match that I thought was going to be the close match, the one up in the air, and he took care of business right away.”

East (3-3) salvaged a point with a victory at No. 2 singles. Neeraj Pandita outlasted Anay Gangal 6-2, 2-6, (11-9).

“That’s a good win for Neeraj,” East coach Jim Stone said. “We expected that one to be close. We just hope that (No.) 1 doubles and (No.) 1 singles can play a little bit better the next time.”

With both teams having to turn around and play conference matches today, neither will be able to dwell on Wednesday’s battle. The Olympians host Jennings County, and the Bull Dogs host Perry Meridian.

“It’s always nice to beat your crosstown rival,” VanDeventer said. “But the beautiful thing is, we have another match (today), so we’ll enjoy this tonight, but we’ll be ready to go (today) for sure.”

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.