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The Columbus East boys tennis team moved on to the finals of the Hoosier Hills Conference tournament with a 5-0 win against Seymour.
Both teams battled hard through close matches, particularly at No. 1 singles, where East’s Matt Fuehne defeated Seymour’s Alex Craig 2-6, 7-6, 7-4.
“I’ve played him three times, and we’re familiar with each other,” Fuehne said. “We know what each other is going to do, and that threw me off my game a bit tonight. I had to find a different way to win. He was tough.”
“I feel like this is the toughest I’ve played him out of those three,” Craig said. “I feel good moving forward towards sectional. I feel confident that I can be competitive.”
The competition was welcomed by Fuehne, who thinks it better prepares him for the conference finals on Friday.
“The close matches are good,” Fuehne said. “They’re teaching me mentally and physically how to endure and play tough. I think that will pay off in the end.”
The conference semifinal match was more competitive than the 5-0 score showed. Both teams faced greater challenges than they did in the first round of the tournament, when East defeated Jennings County 5-0 and Seymour defeated Bedford North Lawrence 4-1.
“I thought we battled hard tonight,” Seymour coach Brad Emerson said. “We gave good effort. We’re going to face strong competition Friday. But we keep fighting, and they never give up. I’m proud of my team.”
East will host the conference championship Friday against Jeffersonville, which defeated Floyd Central 5-0 in the other semifinal match. Seymour will host Floyd Central in the third-place match on Friday.
“We’re trying to win in singles in the finals,” East coach Jim Stone said. “We’re loading it up at the top trying to take the singles matches. The close matches are good for our players because they’re going to be close the rest of the way out for them.”
In other singles matches, East’s Seth Meyer defeated Ben Coomer 6-0, 6-2 at No. 2, and Will Voils defeated Alex Berry 6-4, 6-7, (10-2) at No. 3. In doubles competition, Jo Jo and Sammy Woolwine defeated Andrew Rudge and Seth Stuckwisch 6-3, 7-5 at No. 1, and Alex Galle and Matt Furnish defeated Josiah Rudge and John Kleber 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2.
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