FORTVILLE — Once Greenfield-Central rallied back to take the third and decisive set in No. 1 doubles Tuesday night, Mt. Vernon head coach Gabe Muterspaugh couldn’t resist.
“We’ll get that 5-0 one day,” he joked as the Marauders improved to 6-0 in straight dual matches this season with a 4-1 victory against the rival Cougars.
“There’s just something about that 5-0,” Muterspaugh said.
Traditionally, there’s never an easy win against the Cougars and despite the final, the Marauders had to battle for every point.
“This match always seems to be the toughest one. We usually come out flat, and we still came out flat, but I talked to the guys, and they responded,” Muterspaugh said. “We got the W. I saw some really good things.”
Being at home didn’t hurt either. Unbeaten on their home courts this season at 5-0, Mt. Vernon had won seven dual matches prior to Tuesday, including two during the Muncie Central Invitational on Aug. 29.
With the home victory against Greenfield- Central, they upped their Hoosier Heritage Conference record to 3-0 with 3-2 wins versus both Pendleton Heights and Yorktown.
The Marauders swept all three singles matches against the Cougars, beginning with Brendon Ware at No. 1 singles defeating Zak Lawhorn 6-4, 6-1.
Ryan Beck beat Nate Real 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 singles, and Matt Hays won 6-0, 6-2 against Chris Wu at No. 3 singles.
“Ware is a grinder. Beck is an athlete. Hays just rolls right along at No. 3 singles. I think he’s only lost twice this year,” Muterspaugh said. “They’re having a great year. It’s nice when you have all three singles spots rolling.”
Greenfield-Central was shorthanded at No. 3 singles with Tommy Graham, a senior, out due to illness.
However, Wu, a junior, impressed, as did the No. 1 doubles team of Saben Fletcher and Dylan Wilburn.
“That was the first time he’s ever played varsity because our normal No. 3 was sick,” Greenfield-Central head coach Michael Turpin said of Wu’s play. “He definitely showed some promise for next year.”
Fletcher and Wilburn controlled their match at the outset with a 7-5 win in the first set, but stumbled a bit with a 5-7 loss in the second before finishing off the match with a 6-3 win.
“They were up the first set, and they were up 4-1 in the second, but they let the other team comeback. In reality, they should have finished it in two,” Turpin said. “They played well, though, and fought hard. They understood the other team was changing up their strategy and they needed to adjust. And they did. In the end of the day, they still won.”
The No. 2 doubles tandem of Jacob Swift and Nathan Grandstaff handled their business, defeating Brady Wright and Jerry Fogle to give the Marauders their 4-0 margin.
Things will stay busy for the Marauders the rest of the week, with matches against HHC foe Shelbyville on Thursday and Lawrence North on the road today before the Hancock County Meet on Saturday at Mt. Vernon.
“We have a busy week. We definitely have a full schedule,” Muterspaugh said. “It makes it tough, but at the same time, you know you’re going to be battle tested. We have two heavy matches and then go light on Friday. The guys will definitely be up for county. They always are.”
Greenfield-Central, which fell to New Palestine 5-0 and Delta 5-0 in previous HHC matches, has a meeting with Knightstown on Thursday before county.
“No one had a straight loss today. All of them were out there fighting for it,” Turpin said. “I’m real proud with the way we played. I do think that as far as the best tennis I’ve seen from my guys, I didn’t see that tonight, so I think there’s more there, and we’ll see some of that on Saturday.”