Columbus East and Brown County came into Wednesday’s boys tennis match with a lot of similarities.
Both teams are young and inexperienced, both had only one win this season, and both are in the same sectional, where they annually try to challenge Columbus North for supremacy.
On the court, the Olympians and Eagles figure to be fairly evenly-matched as well. They played four three-set matches, with East taking three to pull out a 3-2 victory.
“I think at all those spots, we were playing pretty well,” East coach Matt Malinsky said. “I feel like it was just destiny out there tonight.”
Brown County (1-8) enjoyed a 2-0 lead after Chase Watson beat Jackson Stevens 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 singles and Elijah Roush and Abe Oliver beat Nathan Hatchett and Bryce Buening 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles. But after that, the Olympians (2-5) took over.
Caige Comstock and Jalen Pleak kept East’s hopes alive by rallying for a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) win against Nathaniel Fox and Nolan Patterson at No. 2 doubles. Comstock and Pleak were down 5-4 in the second set, 5-4 and 6-5 in the third set and 5-2 in the third-set tiebreaker.
“It was a great comeback for those guys,” Malinsky said. “They just kept coming back.”
The Olympians’ Pranav Kumar finished off a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win against Aidan Burt at No. 3 singles to even the match at 2-2. That left it up to No. 2 singles to determine the winner.
At that spot, East’s Luke Miller rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win against Aaron McCann.
“My coach, Matt, told me just to keep in in play, and I knew I just needed to listen to Matt,” Miller said. “I heard when Pranav won, and I knew I had to come up with my match in order for the team to win. It fees amazing. I’m hoping that gives us momentum for playing Jennings County (today).”
Miller led McCann 4-2 in the third set before McCann came back to tie it at 4-4. Miller then won the final two games to finish off the comeback and give the Olympians the match.
“It was dicey there at 4-all, and then all of a sudden, he just put on the afterburners and closed him out,” Malinsky said. “He executed the game plan to perfection there in the last couple of sets.”
The Olympians have just nine players on this year’s team. None are seniors.
The win was East’s second in three matches following an 0-4 start.
“I know East is not the East of old,” Brown County coach Kevin Roush said. “I understand that, but it was a golden opportunity to do something we haven’t done that I can remember for a long time. But with a young team and inexperienced, to be able to take these guys to four three-setters, that’s a positive.”