The fourth-ranked Columbus North boys tennis team will be favored to win the Bloomington South Regional that begins Tuesday against Southwestern (Hanover).
Should the Bull Dogs prevail in that semifinal, they’ll likely face No. 9 Bloomington South on Wednesday in a rematch for the championship and a trip to the Jasper Semistate on Saturday.
North won against the Panthers last month in a closely contested 3-2 decision.
“It was close. We know there’s spots we’re going to win, we know there’s spots where we probably won’t win,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “That’s what I’m trying to get to these guys. We beat them once. They’re going to be ready for us. We have to step up and continue playing the game that we can play.”
With Bloomington South likely playing with nothing to lose, the Bull Dogs (21-2) will have more pressure to close it out.
“I think they’ll be fine,” Hammel said. “We had some good matches this year against teams that were good competition for us. I think we rose to the occasion.“
The spots where North prevailed in during the regular season matchup were at No. 1 singles and both doubles spots.
“It’s been 1 singles and 1 doubles carrying us, and someone else has got to follow with that third spot. That’s really going to be the idea in that same situation with Bloomington South,” Hammel said. “At the same time, 1 singles is going to be a dogfight because it was close the first time. I know Hank (Lin) is going to have to be ready. One doubles are going to have to be ready, and I know they’re going to be ready. It’s just taking care of business in the other spots.”
Lin, a sophomore, likely will face the Panthers’ Mike Asplund and the match was a close 7-5, 7-6 (4) match when they played in the regular season.
“We’ll have to play aggressive and have the mindset to play positive and not caring about the score, but playing like ourselves so that we can overcome Bloomington South to become regional champions.” Lin said.