LEBANON – The Zionsville tennis team has big goals for what they can accomplish this fall.
They took another step on that journey Friday afternoon, topping Lebanon 5-0 to win the sectional title.
“Top to bottom we did a great job,” Zionsville head coach Earl Allen said. “Every court did their job today. We talked about our plan today and how in the past we have had difficulties with Lebanon and we can’t assume anything. We wanted to play tough tennis, and that’s what we did.”
It was the seventh sectional title in a row and 14th in 15 years for the Eagles.
They had played Lebanon just a couple of weeks ago, winning 5-0 but having some tough matches throughout.
Allen said his team learned a lot from that match and adjusted for the sectional.
“Our kids went out and respected their opponents,” Allen said. “We wanted to let the racquets do the work and knew we had to go out and win the match, it wasn’t going to be given to us. We had to go out and get it and we did.”
Lebanon head coach Joe LePage said that the Tigers knew the match was going to be tough going into it, and admitted that the Eagles had another gear his team couldn’t match.
“We knew it was going to take a quality effort to get past a team like Zionsville, and they had another gear that we weren’t ready for,” LePage said. “We made it a little uncomfortable for a little while, but boy they had everything we expected and more. They were better than us today certainly.”
The closest match of the day came at No. 1 singles.
After playing a three-set match in the regular season, Zionsville’s Cole Chappell and Lebanon’s Michael Wright has a another tight match, with Chappell winning 6-4, 6-3.
“For Cole, the biggest thing is staying relaxed and playing with confidence,” Allen said. “He did that today. He and Michael had gone three sets already this year, it was a tricky set-up for Cole, and he did a good job.”
Wright had led 4-3 in the first set and was serving to go up 5-3.
But Chappell won the final three games of the first set, then won the first three of the second to go up 3-0.
Wright got within 4-3, but Chappell broke Wright’s serve to go up 5-3 and then finished it off.
“The sport of tennis is about runs and momentum,” LePage said. “He had a whole lot of air taken out of his sails in losing that first set. Cole just stepped on the gas and won that second set. It was sad to see for Michael.”
At No. 2 singles, Nick Bailey topped Daniel Hood 6-0, 6-0 and at No. 3 singles, Austin Kuklak topped John Gascho 6-1, 6-3.
At No. 1 doubles, Ryan Carr and Robert Campbell topped Nick Nies and Harrison Love 6-0, 6-2 and at No. 2 doubles, Ethan Perry and Nick Winters topped Luke Ferrell and Drew Davidson 6-1, 6-3.
Earlier in the week, the Eagles topped Frankfort and Western Boone, both 5-0.
Against Frankfort, Chappell defeated Noah Wilder 6-1, 6-0. At No. 2 singles, Bailey topped James Ostler 7-5, 6-0 and at No. 3 singles, Kuklak defeated Chase Thomas 6-0, 6-1.
Campbell and Carr topped Jesus Garcia-Valdes and Riley Grasham 6-1, 6-0 and Perry and Winters defeated Carter Wilson and Elijah West 6-1, 6-0.
Against Western Boone, Chappell defeated Keith Dobbs 6-0, 6-0, Bailey topped Tyler Brunty 6-2, 6-1 and Kuklak topped Zach Collins 6-2, 6-4.
At No. 1 doubles, Campbell and Carr defeated Aidan Smith and Chase Lee 6-0, 6-0 and Perry and Winters topped Harrison Fields and Kaden Landers 6-2, 6-2.
The Eagles will face Covenant Christian in the opening match of the regional.
“We are feeling really good right now and our confidence level is really high,” Allen said. “We have had some good performances and winning breeds confidence. We have had some big wins and we are going into the regional with the most confidence we have had in many years.”