“I think it’s going to be close,” Sale said of the Western rematch. “Our guys are excited about it. One thing we have going for us here late in the season is our experience. We have a lot of seniors out there fighting to keep the next match from being their last. We’re going in with a new No. 2 doubles team that’s one a little winning streak. If we go out and play well anything can happen, so this is an exciting time for us.”
Kokomo (6-12) awaits the Eastern-Western winner in Thursday’s semifinals. Northwestern is the only sectional opponent the Wildkats have faced this season, topping the Tigers 4-1.
“I think there’s a lot of teams that, in different situations, can make a lot of different things happen,” Kokomo coach Shawn Flanary said. “On paper, Taylor is strong. They shared the MIC title and have a great record. Of the players returning from last year’s sectional final, I think they have four returning starters and we only return one. Taylor looks like the team to beat, in my opinion. On our side, Eastern and Western present challenges. They are both solid, and have had different spots this year that have been strong and had a lot of success. If they play well, either team is very capable of beating us. We have to be prepared for either of those teams.”
The Kats are seeking their third straight sectional championship, having defeated Taylor in the championship round both times. Kokomo has a much different look this time around, with No. 1 singles player Craig Simon as the only returner from the 2012 squad that defeated the Titans 4-1 on last season’s in the title round.
“We have to play our best tennis,” Flanary said. “We definitely had a [tough] schedule in terms of depth and quality, probably as deep as it’s ever been. Hopefully that’s helped sharpen us. Our team has progressed a lot this season. Six guys are new to us in terms of playing in the postseason, and we’re anxious to see how we perform in the moment. But, our guys are excited and looking forward to it.”
Kokomo Tennis Sectional First Round Today, 4 p.m. Eastern (9-11) vs. Western (8-7) Taylor (12-3) vs. Tipton Semifinals Thursday, 4 p.m. Kokomo (6-12) vs. Eastern-Western winner Northwestern (4-13) vs. Taylor-Tipton winner Finals Friday, 4 p.m. Semifinal winners