By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — Kokomo’s boys tennis team evened its record at 4-4 after a 5-0 victory Tuesday at Maconaquah in a tuneup before the Wildkats’ Thursday North Central Conference showdown against Marion. Kokomo is 1-0 in NCC play.
“With our schedule, sometimes it’s tough, especially with Carmel, [Indianapolis] North Central and some of the tough teams we see,” Kokomo coach Shawn Flanary said. “It’s a good feeling to get to that .500 mark, and now we have to keep making progress. We know [the schedule] helps prepare us for conference and tournament time, and the kids are making progress. That’s for sure.”
Craig Simon took a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles for Kokomo. Bryce York followed with a 4-6, 6-4, 12-10 victory in a super tie-breaker, due to the heat, to decide the match.
Grant Patterson completed the singles sweep for the Kats with a 6-3, 6-1 win at the No. 3 post.
“All the guys played well,” Flanary said. “Craig came out and controlled his match from beginning to end and played good, aggressive tennis. He didn’t allow his opponent to get anything going. Bryce showed a good adjustment, and played smarter, steadier tennis there in the second set. It was a nice comeback. Grant had a tight first set but kept his composure and played smart tennis. He had the most success in his match moving forward to the net. That really showed in a strong second set.”
At No. 1 doubles, the tandem of Brad Dockemeyer and Erik Bowen prevailed 7-5, 7-6 in a seesaw match. Joey Hurlocker and Jake Farkas were 6-0, 6-3 winners at No. 2 doubles.
“They’re getting smarter about playing more aggressive,” Flanary said of Dockemeyer and Bowen. “Both are basketball players who don’t play a lot of tennis in the summer, and they’re starting to get in a rhythm and are starting to execute better. Getting them to be aggressive at the net has been the big difference.”
WESTERN 3, NORTHWESTERN 2
Western (6-5, 2-1 MIC) took both doubles matches on its way to a road conference win.
The Panthers’ No. 1 doubles team of Justin Groothuis and Vito Pulverenti battled back after dropping the first set to defeat the tandem of Kyle Miller and Nathan Chou 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Western’s Luke Florek and Kaleb Howard took a 6-1, 6-1 decision over Kyle Douglass and Noah Cardwell at the No. 2 doubles post.
Also for Western, Judson Quinn was a 6-1, 6-1 victor at over Clay Douglass at No. 1 singles.
Northwestern’s points came at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. At the No. 2 post, Will DeVaul defeated Brody Worl 6-2, 5-7, 6-0, while Joel Austin downed John Sullivan at No. 3, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
“I was especially impressed with our No. 1 doubles’ ability to fight back from a first-set loss,” Western co-coach Christine Miller said. “[The outcome] came down to that match they knew it, but they set up points and executed well at the net. Our guys are listening to coaching and following through on it well. Our No. 2 doubles continued their solid play together. They’ve found their groove and are in mid-season form.”
Nw DEF. KOKOMO 25-20, 20-25, 25-21, 18-25, 17-15
The Purple Tigers outlasted the Wildkats on Kokomo’s home floor in a five-set nail-biter. Northwestern fended off three match points in the deciding set in improving to 3-5 on the season.
Hannah Ballard led the victory charge with six kills, 11 service points and three aces. Kelsey Richards added 13 points and four aces. Sydney Zeck added 11 points and 27 assists. And Alexis Brown added four kills.
“It was a great experience,” Northwestern coach Trina Yager said, also noting the stout defensive play of Richards and Emily Harshman. “Our girls worked really hard. They were getting worn down, but they fought through it and battled. I’m very proud of them. They’ve worked really hard and battled through mental things and struggles.”
Tori Lauderbaugh led Kokomo (2-7) with 14 kills and two blocks. Alanis Jones added 12 kills and a pair of blocks. Kirsten Frey finished with 10 kills and four blocks. Miranda Ogle distributed 22 assists and added seven digs. Amanda Tran rounded out the Kats’ leaders with 28 digs and 40 service receptions.
“We just had a lot of untimely, simple errors,” Kokomo coach Jason Watson said. “[We let] the ball hit the floor. Our first serves went out of bounds. We missed 16 serves [Tuesday] night, and that’s way too high. At the end of the match, we had the lead. We had match point three times and couldn’t get the ball down on [Northwestern’s] side. We had a couple errors at the end that cost us the match, but we really lost it early when we lost the first and third sets.”
H. HEIGHTS DEF. TAYLOR 25-16, 25-7, 25-11
Kim Seal led Taylor with five kils. Valary Farmer served five points and Katelyn Duncan offered 27 sets without an error.
“We played well in spurts, but we are unable to keep the momentum up. We have got to stay focused and fight through our mental lapses and compete,” Taylor coach Denise Leicht said.
ROSSVILLE DEF. TC 25-17, 25-17, 23-25, 25-13
Whitney Revolt floored nine kills to lead Tri-Central in the Hoosier Heartland Conference match. Tara Davis had 17 assists.
OAK HILL INVITATIONAL
Western won the nine-team invitational with a score of 42, taking first on a sixth-man tiebreaker after tying with the host school. Tipton was third with a score of 85, and Carroll was fifth with 117.
Matt Grider finished first in 16:25 to pace Western. Riley Carter was sixth (17:33), Auston Davenport was 10th (18:05), Caleb Maddox was 11th (18:05), Austin Elliott was 14th (18:35). Josh Scott was 16th (18:37) and cast the deciding vote for the Panthers with his sixth-place finish, two places ahead of Oak Hill’s sixth runner.
“I thought we probably could have ran a little better than we did, but we had a really hard workout [Monday] because we weren’t sure we were going to have the meet,” Western coach Gary Jewell said, noting that Tuesday’s heat might have forced the meet to be called off. “When we ran it was at least 93 [degrees]. We were kind of running on tired legs but sometimes you have to do that. Sometimes you have to do a hard workout and a race back-to-back.
“Matt basically sat back the first half of the race before making his way to the front and he gapped the No. 2 guy. On his last K he ran sub 3 minutes. Our sixth man, Josh Scott, is a sophomore who seems to be coming into his own right now. He’s ran PRs in his last two races. He picked a good day to do it. If he doesn’t run as well as he did, we’re in second place.”
Nate Gonzalez led Tipton with a third-place finish (16:59). Cameron Conn led Carroll in 12th (18:06)
WESTERN 2, OAK HILL 1
Nic Bewley opened the scoring on a header off a feed from Mason May, and Zac Simpson closed the scoring on a 35-yard rocket early in the second half to break a 1-all tie and give the Panthers the win. Edgar Sanchez had three saves as Western improved to 6-2-1.
“First and foremost we did a very nice job of maintaining possession,” Western coach Mike Roe said. “We limited their touches on the ball. one thing we wanted to work on was making sure we didn’t let anybody string together several passses. I really feel that worked well for us. And we were able to maintain possession. Oak hill’s younger this year but they’re always a solid team.”
Northwestern 1, Peru 1 (NW wins shootout 5-3)
The Purple Tigers kept their conference record unblemished, playing the Bengal Tigers even through regulation and both overtimes before connecting on all five of their penalty kicks.
Robert Olsen scored Northwestern’s regulation goal in the first half before Peru scored the equalizer with 15 minutes to play.
Jacob Wagner, Blaine Brutus, Olsen, Garrett Hite and Parker Fessenden all found the back of the net for the Purple Tigers (6-1, 3-0 MIC). Evan LaDow added eight saves in goal in the win, including one in the penalty kicks
“Peru played really well,” Northwestern coach Jim Wagner said. “We struggled playing on their football field a little bit. The guys fought through that, and even though it was really hot and the guys were tired, they persevered through. We dominated the overtimes but just couldn’t get one through. We came through on the PKs, and Evan came up with a big save for us.”
WESTERN 4, TAYLOR 0
Western blanked Taylor in MIC play.
Goalie Lydia Owens posted 23 saves for the Titans (1-5-1, 1-2 MIC), who had six shots on goal.
“Lydia had a big night for us,” Taylor coach John Piotrowicz said. “Western is a pretty tough team. They’re about as good as they’ve been in 10 years. We knew it would be a tough game for us. Even though we got beat 4-0 I thought we played really well, and Lydia helped that. She had a great game in goal. … It was a tough night with the weather, but our kids didn’t quit on us. They kept fighting.”
NW 6, Maconaquah 1
Korey Price scored three goals to lead the Tigers to the MIC win. Brandi Harmon, Michaela Bennett and Kindra Hamrick added a goal apiece.
Maconaquah scored with 13 seconds remaining to avoid the shutout.