BLOOMINGTON — The Columbus North boys tennis team anticipated that the regional final against Bloomington North on Wednesday would come down to the No. 3 singles match.
The No. 24-ranked Bull Dogs knew they had advantages at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles and expected the No. 14 Cougars to take the Nos. 1 and 2 singles.
After rain caused a change in location from Bloomington North to Bloomington South and a nearly two-hour delay for the courts to dry, the Cougars ended Columbus North’s season with a 3-2 victory.
The Bull Dogs (17-5) came through in the doubles positions as expected, and the final point rested on the shoulders of senior Akshaya Sabapathy. Sabapathy fell to Paul Dzubay 6-1, 6-2 No. 3 singles.
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Columbus North coach Kendal Hammel told Sabapathy that he competed against a tough opponent and to not feel like he let the team down.
“Akshaya didn’t play his best tennis, but not only that, his opponent played very well,” Hammel said. “He got every possible nudge. He got the bounces, he got the lobs, he got the put-away. Akshaya just couldn’t get into the match. (Dzubay) played very well in that situation.”
The other two points for the Cougars (18-2) came from Mac Rogers, who beat Kevin Lin 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, and Christian Gettlefinger, who topped Joey Zhao 6-0, 6-3 at No. 2 singles.
Chris Ruble and Adam Saad took care of business for the Bull Dogs at No. 2 doubles, beating Max Graf and Conor Miller 6-1, 6-2. Isaac Jackson and Ben Mathew pulled out a close one against Sam Orbaugh and Arpan Bose at No. 1 doubles to advance in individual doubles tournament.
Jackson and Mathew won the first set 7-6 with a 7-5 tiebreaker. They went up 5-2 in the second set before Bloomington North put on the pressure and cut the lead to 5-4. Both Jackson and Mathew stayed focused enough to take the set 6-4 and advance.
“Isaac and I have a pretty good record when we’re against the ropes,” Mathew said. “We just try to focus on what we need to do every single time and execute. It’s all about executing the plan.”
Jackson and Mathew will play Bedford North Lawrence’s No. 1 doubles team at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bloomington North.
“I don’t know much about their team, but I’m confident in our abilities,” Jackson said. “We’re going to go out there and play confident from the start. Hopefully, we get a win so we can move on in the tournament.”