By GREG MENGELT
Eleventh-ranked Jeffersonville continued its hot play with a 5-0 victory over Floyd Central in Wednesday’s semifinal round of the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament.
Jeff, which will face Columbus East in Friday’s conference championship match, is now 13-1 after sweeping the Highlanders. But it wasn’t as easy as the 5-0 score may appear.
After Jeff won the first set at four of the five positions, the Highlanders forced three three-set matches.
“I give Floyd Central a lot of credit for coming out and competing in each of the matches,” Jeff coach Mark Reilly said.
Floyd Central’s No. 2 doubles team was the only position to win the opening set as Austin Ivey and Alex Saxon won the first set 6-2 over Kooper Falkenstein and Chase Kayrouz. However, Falkenstein and Kayrouz came back to win the final two sets, 6-1 and 6-2.
“I give our guys a lot of credit for hanging in there until we got the momentum switch,” Reilly said. “Once we took the advantage in the second set, we were able to stay in control the entire match.”
After taking the first set 6-4 at No. 3 singles, Connor Buntin fell 7-4 in a second-set tiebreaker to Duncan Bishop. However, Buntin came through in the final set, 6-2.
“Duncan played hard and was able to fight back and take the second set,” Reilly said. “I thought both kids gave tremendous effort. In the end, Buntin was able to take the offensive and keep pressure on Duncan that pulled the match to his favor. To hit out on your shots when the match is tight is excellent. Conner is an attacking player and him being able to do that in a stressful situation will pay off in end.”
Jeff’s No. 1 doubles team of Sam Coward and Jack Reilly won its first set 6-3 over Jack Stoner and Harrison Davis. However, Stoner and Davis were able to come back for an impressive 6-1 win in the second set. The Jeff sophomores were able to put the Highlander seniors away in the third set, 6-3.
“At [No.] 1 doubles, the first two sets were plagued with double faults,” Coach Reilly said. “FC had their share in the first set and [Jeff] had a bunch in the second. The third set was a much better-played set. We ended up winning with a 6-2 margin, but it was a battle.”
Austin Hunt and Brock Winchell controlled their matches at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively. Hunt defeated Ryan Plunkett 6-4, 6-2 and Winchell topped freshman Chris Boone 6-1, 6-3.
“Austin was down in the first set 3-4, but took the next three games to win the set, and then took control of the match,” Reilly recalled. “Brock's mistake-free style ended up winning the big points to close out a lot of the games.”
NEW ALBANY WINS
New Albany advanced into the HHC fifth-place match with a 5-0 victory over Madison on Wednesday.
All five Bulldog positions won in straight sets.
“After a very disappointing first round loss to Jeffersonville, I felt that most of our team responded in a positive way,” New Albany coach Bob Dusch said. “We hope that we can build on this match.”
New Albany’s two doubles teams only dropped five games combined. Nick White and Zach Daniel beat Austin Brady and Ceaton Bowman 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles and the Bulldogs’ No. 1 doubles team of Tanner Goller and Jake Kennard defeated Clark Vaughn and Noah Stookey 6-1, 6-2.
Freshman Logan Charbonneau easily won at No. 1 singles, taking down Kyle Sauley 6-2, 6-4. Alec Bates beat Sam McIlvain 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles and Nathan Johnson earned a 6-4, 6-3 win over Cole Callahan 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3 singles for the Bulldogs.
On Friday, New Albany will face Bedford North Lawrence, which defeated Jennings County on Wednesday, for fifth place in the HHC Tournament.
HOOSIER HILLS CONFERENCE
JEFFESRONVILLE 5, FLOYD CENTRAL 0
No. 1 — Austin Hunt d. Ryan Plunkett 6-4, 6-2.
No. 2 — Brock Winchell d. Chris Boone 6-1, 6-3.
No. 3 — Connor Buntin d. Duncan Bishop 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.
No. 1 — Sam Coward-Jack Reilly d. Jack Stoner-Harrison Davis 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
No. 2 — Kooper Falkenstein-Chase Kayrouz d. Austin Ivey-Alex Saxon 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Records: Jeffersonville 13-1.
JV: Jeffersonville 6-4.
Next: Jeffersonville at Columbus East, HHC Championship, Friday; Floyd Central at Seymour, HHC Consolation, Friday.
NEW ALBANY 5, MADISON 0
At New Albany
No. 1 — Logan Charbonneau d. Kyle Sauley 6-2, 6-4.
No. 2 — Alec Bates d. Sam McIlvain 6-1, 6-1.
No. 3 — Nathan Johnson d. Cole Callahan 6-4, 6-3.
No. 1 — Tanner Goller-Jake Kennard d. Clark Vaughn-Noah Stookey 6-1, 6-2.
No. 2 — Nick White-Zach Daniel d. Austin Brady-Ceaton Bowman 6-1, 6-1.
Next: New Albany at Bedford North Lawrence, HHC fifth-place match, Friday.