The Columbus North boys tennis team knew that every match against Perry Meridian was going to be important.
The Bull Dogs made set-clinching points and key moments in tie-breakers to move past the Falcons 4-1 and improve their record to 7-0, including 4-0 in Conference Indiana.
North started off on the right foot early in No. 1 singles, when Luke Red made quick work of Derek Benedict, winning 6-3, 6-2.
Red said that he played some of his best tennis against Benedict, who had beaten Red the past six matches they played.
“I was actually really nervous,” Red said. “Once I started to play, everything went really well.”
Red said that although he played a great game, there are small improvements he needs to make.
“My backhand is what I’ve always been trying to improve on, as well as my second serve,” Red said. “Once I get those to where I want them, I will be fine.”
Bull Dogs coach Kendal Hammel said that Red provided the momentum they needed to stay on track in the match.
“Luke set the tone right off the bat,” Hammel said. “He came into the match not knowing what was going to happen and played really well.”
In No. 2 singles competition, Krishan Narsinghani couldn’t find any openings he needed and lost in straight sets to Sam Osbourne 6-3, 6-1. At No. 3 singles, Rahul Jha had a clutch performance and provided late excitement, hitting match-clinching points in the third set to win 7-6, 2-6, 6-0 against Alex Kitchel.
North’s No. 1 doubles team of Anthony Sanders and Jake Likens pulled through after losing the first set in a tiebreaker to put away Doug Seals and Andrew Denning 6-7 (5-7), 6-0, 6-0. Sanders said it was a matter of playing a mental game with the Falcons to pull off the win.
“In the beginning, we weren’t into it, but in the second and third sets, we tried to get in their heads,” Sanders said. “In the final set, we tried to be the better sportsmen to beat them.”
The No. 2 doubles team of Aditya Mantri and Kevin Luo outhit the Falcons duo of Lian Hnin and Devon Amos 6-1, 6-2.
Hammel said the team’s focus was to control the outcome of the match.
“Going into the match, we knew this was going to be a good team,” Hammel said. “I told the team before the match that we had to prove ourselves against them.”
Sanders said that in order for the team to move forward, they need to create opportunities to win.
“We need to take every chance we get,” Sanders said. “We need to make sure we make opportunities to put shots away.”
Hammel said that the team is exactly where it needs to be going into the North Invitational on Saturday, where they will be competing in three matches.
“Competition-wise, we should be fine.” Hammel said. “Overall, we are on the right track with where we need to be.”