Zionsville boys tennis program takes next step

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The Zionsville Community High School boys tennis team’s march to the state championship final should provide a boost to the program’s future prospects.

“This has made us know that we can compete with the best in the state. Obviously, we were down to the last two,” Eagles coach Earl Allen said. “Overall, we beat all the teams we were supposed to beat. It gives us a lot of confidence and, hopefully, will instill hard work and pay off.”

The top-ranked Greyhounds won the first four matches in 63 minutes or less in their 5-0 victory against No. 5 Zionsville Oct. 16 in the IHSAA boys tennis state championship at Carmel High School.

“(Carmel) played at another level,” Allen said. “I think they stepped it up a little bit. They played pretty fabulous on every court. We hung in there, especially at No. 1 singles.

Carmel senior Broc Fletcher had to rally to beat Zionsville senior Cole Chappell 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 at No. 1 singles.

“It could have gone either way,” Allen said.

Fletcher, who had played a three-setter in a win against Columbus North’s Nathan Lin earlier in the day, had bad leg cramps during the match.

“Cole focused too much on the injury and the injury timeout,” Allen said. “I tried my best to tell him to just stay on your side and focus on what you are doing.’ It messed him up and he couldn’t get past the underhand serves. You have to fight through it. The strategy was to focus on the execution and to move the ball around. Sometimes, it can be overwhelmingly distracting. He lost his way a little bit, but those things happen.”

The loss eliminated Chappell, who finished with a 23-4 record, from the state singles competition.

“He had a phenomenal season,” Allen said. “Many people would love to have his record. He was fighting for that last individual singles spot, and Broc was already out (of the singles competition). It’s tough because you are playing for two different things, looking for the opportunity to continue on. He worked hard, so that was hard (to lose).”

The Eagles, who finished 19-4, also placed second in 2008. Zionsville had defeated Jasper 4-1 in the semifinals and beat Covington 5-0 in the quarterfinals.

“I’m losing four seniors, but I got a slew of underclassmen that are coming through and a bunch of sophomores on varsity,” Allen said. “I think our future is pretty bright. We’ve got a complement of kids coming back. I think we’ll be in good shape.”

The other senior starters were Peyton Guider, No. 3 singles; Ryan Betz, No. 1 doubles; and Emerson Holifield, No. 2 doubles. Guider finished 15-5.


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