For Columbus North, Friday’s sectional final was another step toward its goal of winning a regional title.
The 24th-ranked Bull Dogs breezed through its matchup with Brown County, dropping only one game in the five matches on their way to a 5-0 victory and a sectional title.
“We played well,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “We really didn’t have to say a whole lot to the guys about playing because they knew this was the match getting us into the regional, which is where we’re looking to get another shot at Bloomington North, possibly.”
The Bull Dogs (16-4) will play Seymour in the Bloomington North Regional semifinals on Tuesday. The winner likely meet the host Cougars in Wednesday’s regional final.
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Joey Zhao was first off the court for Columbus North on Friday, beating Noah Cochran 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles.
“I think I came really prepared, and my serves were a lot better than they were before,” Zhao said. “Then, my groundstrokes in general, I didn’t miss as much as I did before.”
The Bull Dogs’ Akshaya Sabapathy was next to complete his match, a 6-0, 6-0 win against Nathaniel Fox at No. 3 singles. Isaac Jackson and Ben Mathew then clinched the match for Columbus North with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Abe Oliver and Elijah Roush at No. 1 doubles.
Chris Ruble and Adam Saad topped Nolan Patterson and Aiden Burt 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles for the Bull Dogs.
“I thought I could have played a little bit better than I did today,” Sabapathy said. ‘We have to prepare for the regional and Bloomington North. That’s been our goal from the beginning of the season — to get past them and get back to semistate.”
The Eagles (4-19) claimed their lone game in the second set at No. 1 singles. Columbus North’s Kevin Lin beat Chase Watson (6-0, 6-1).
Brown County had advanced to the final with a 3-2 win Thursday against Columbus East, avenging a regular-season loss.
“We started (the season) really slow, and we finished strong, and I think we were playing our better tennis at the end of the year,” Brown County coach Kevin Roush said. “Our freshmen learned how to play hard, and they got to see a different level of tennis. Now, the expectation is, ‘OK, what do we need to do to get to that level.’”