JASPER — Fourth-ranked Floyd Central had one of its toughest tests of the boys' tennis season in the Jasper Semistate on Saturday against Columbus North.
The No. 3 Bull Dogs played with a lot of aggression and intensity on the courts in which the Highlanders had absolutely no answer. That helped North continue its undefeated run by defeating Floyd Central 4-1 to advance to the state finals for the second consecutive year.
The Highlanders end their season 20-5.
In the regular season last month, the Bull Dogs edged Floyd Central 3-2.
"It was a really good season. We've overcome some things earlier in the season, and we did a pretty good job," Floyd Central coach Robert Kleeman said. "It's was one of those things in the semistate where two of the four best teams in the state ran into each other. That happens, and that is a part of competing."
At No. 1 singles, Columbus North's Nathan Lin made quick work of Floyd Central's Connor Mason 6-0, 6-0.
The Bull Dogs found themselves ahead 2-0 in the match when Joey Zhao and Matthew Liu defeated Floyd Central's Alex Poe and Eric Whitehouse 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1 doubles.
North eventually clinched the semistate when Adam Saad finished off the Highlanders' Jacob Thompson 6-2, 6-4 at No. 3 singles. About a minute later, the Bull Dogs' Bhavey Jain won against Floyd Central's Gabriel Cora 7-6 (2), 6-2 at No. 2 singles.
The Highlanders did not go home empty handed, however.
With the team match already clinched, the No. 2 doubles match went to a third-set supertiebreaker with Floyd Central's Joe Lincoln and Aaron Seay defeating North's Eamon Ma and Will King 2-6, 7-6 (6), (11-9).
"(Columbus North) played really well today, and we definitely didn't play our best match of the year today," Kleeman said. "We definitely came out flat in the singles spots, for sure, which is not usually the case, but that happens, and they took advantage of that and did a really good job."
Kleeman now have to look to replace five starting seniors on the team for next year.
"I'm not too concerned about that. We usually do a good job of getting kids ready and making sure they can compete at this level every year," Kleeman said. "It's never fun to lose five seniors, but I think we'll be all right."