WARSAW – It wasn’t the cleanest ride to a sectional championship for Warsaw’s boys tennis team. But it doesn’t have to be.
Columbia City pushed Warsaw on three courts, but the Tigers came out ahead in a 4-1 victory Saturday morning in the championship of the Warsaw Boys Tennis Sectional.
Quick work on the three singles and one doubles courts had Warsaw up 2-0 early. Brian Elliott overmatched Jordan Lee one and one at No. 3 while Nolan Knight and Spencer Britton stayed perfect at No. 1 with a one and two mark on Logan Campbell and Jackson Longenbaugh.
Comfortably up two, Warsaw looked like it was in cruise control once again in the sectional it has won the past six years. But City was working on the other three courts, and forced Warsaw into third sets.
At No. 2 doubles, Michael Ray and Jarett Orr took the first set, 6-3, only for Jacob Ianucilli and David Kyler to come back with a 6-3 win of its own. Trailing 4-1 in the third set, City would fight back to 4-3, but couldn’t break Warsaw’s serve and the Tiger duo would go on to a 6-3 clincher to lock up the team title.
“I think the No. 2 (doubles) finishing that out and getting that third game, it took a little bit of pressure of my singles players,” said Warsaw head coach Stacy Lind. “They still went out and performed and played great.”
At No. 1 singles, Caleb Williams fought off a very talented Kendall Smith in a match that could have gone either way, but Saturday went Williams’ way in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 slugfest.
City’s one win came from No. 2 Eli Jones, who was also in a battle with Reuben Williams. Jones won the first set 6-4, and Williams hung on to edge out set two 7-6 (7-5) to force the final set. Jones would move Williams around enough to outlast the point 6-3.
“Looking where we were three years ago when I came into the program, coming here, we got beat first round, last year make it to the finals and won a couple games, this year taking three of the five to a third set,” said City head coach Chris McGehee. “Looking at what Warsaw’s got and had, and the program that they’ve built and the culture they have, to see my guys compete in their own way and stay classy and motivated and have good energy the whole match was huge.”
Warsaw wins its 31st sectional championship, putting the team tied for 10th overall in the state with Center Grove and West Lafayette in that category.
Warsaw’s win puts them into the Culver Academy Regional for the seventh straight season, pitting the Tigers against Peru, which won its sectional with a 5-0 result over Manchester. On the other half of the draw, Plymouth and Culver Academy will renew acquaintances, Plymouth a 4-1 winner over Bremen and Culver a 5-0 victor against Knox.
Regional semis will be Tuesday, with the winners coming back Wednesday for the regional championship.
“They are going to have some tough competition,” Lind said of the regional draw. “Again, go out there and do their best, everyone has a shot.”