JASPER — Entering Saturday’s Jasper Semistate at the Ed Yarbrough Tennis Complex, the Jeffersonville boys’ tennis team thought it was prepared to compete with the ninth-ranked Wildcats.
Jasper was ready to compete, too.
The Wildcats earned their third consecutive berth in the IHSAA State Finals by ending one of the No. 12 Red Devils’ best seasons in program history with a 4-1 victory.
Jasper (18-3) will face No. 3 Indianapolis Park Tudor (14-4) in Friday’s quarterfinals of the state finals at Fishers High School. Jeff (19-2) was playing in its first semistate since 2010 when it reached the state finals.
“They were more competitive,” said Red Devils’ coach Mark Reilly, whose team lost its only two matches of the season to Jasper by 4-1 scores. “I think Jasper played well. I think if Jasper would’ve had just a little off-day, like one of their kids in singles would’ve let down, I think that would’ve really given us some momentum.”
The Wildcats won all three singles matches in straight sets. At No. 1 singles, Jasper senior Eli Seng downed Jeff’s Austin Hunt, 6-1, 6-2. Reilly felt like Seng’s style of play had a big effect on his junior standout.
“The guy was a serve-and-volleyer and really attacked the net well against Austin and pressured his backhand. Austin dictates with his forehand and the guy kind of took that away from him,” Reilly said. “Austin has come a long way this year. He is hitting his serve harder now. He hurt his shoulder [earlier in the season] and then he started serving soft. He wasn’t using that weapon. He did a good job of changing his serve as far as hitting it harder and still being consistent with him.”
Despite losing 6-3, 6-1 to Wildcat junior Grant Weaver, Red Devil sophomore Brock Winchell battled hard with Weaver during several points, which Reilly was happy to see.