By Mike Deak
KOKOMO – NorthWood senior Ben Vincent admitted his journey into the unknown was somewhat uncertain. And it might force his hand as he headed into the state tournament.
Charlie Behrman from Muncie Burris certainly fit into the ‘uncertain’ category for Vincent as the two had never played each other at any level of tennis. At the Kokomo Tennis Regional on Saturday, Vincent found himself in another position he has been in much this season, in chase mode.
All told, Behrman got the best of Vincent, 7-5, 6-1, to advance in the regional tournament at Kokomo High School.
A little shaky to start, Vincent found himself down 3-0 quickly in the first set, but soon regained his poise and took a 5-4 lead. Behrman, however, broke serve and tied the set. Behrman would hit some big shots over the next point, and once again broke Vincent, fending off deuce to take the set 7-5.
While the tight play continued into the second set, Vincent couldn’t get the shots to fall that he needed, seeing his first state tournament run come to a close.
“I think he started out trying to get a feel for Charlie and didn’t capitalize on a few key points to go down 3-0,” stated NorthWood head coach Tif Schwartz. “I think playing someone new, it takes a game or two to figure out their strengths and weaknesses.”
Vincent was 4-0 in the state tournament heading into the weekend. The NorthWood senior ace had played at No. 2 as a sophomore and a junior before moving up this season to No. 1 singles. Overall, Vincent finished his senior campaign 22-3, winner of the Northern Lakes Conference tournament singles title and also the Concord Sectional individual championship. He was named this past week to the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association District 2 All-District Team.
“Ben had a great career come to an end today,” Schwartz said. “He battled to the end but just came up short. I am so proud of his efforts this year. With all the changes and unknowns of whether we would get this far in the season, he made the best of every day. He is always giving 100 percent each day and his last match was no different.”
Behrman, who entered the regional final undefeated, suffered his first loss to Fort Wayne Canterbury’s Kush Anand, 6-3, 6-1, in the championship. Behrman bowed out at 18-1 overall. Anand made the final by taking out Noblesville’s Noah Bushong 6-4, 6-2.