GREENFIELD — New Palestine coach Des Evans said he knew the threat Greenfield-Central posed, but the bigger challenge Monday evening echoed from his three coaching pillars.
“Our goal today was to play well under pressure because we knew Greenfield was going to give us a tough match,” Evans remarked. “I always tell the guys, play smart and speak with your racquets.
“At the end of the day it’s the people that want it the most and play the best under pressure who are the ones that are going to win.”
The Dragons (4-1) had plenty to say despite not carrying a single senior varsity starter in their starting lineup.
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New Palestine defeated rival Greenfield-Central 3-2, by sweeping all three singles spots to take a decisive 3-1 lead before the final match concluded.
Sophomore Matthew True improved to 4-1 on the season with a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles against Greenfield-Central senior Zak Lawhorn. And Carson Gavin, a sophomore, mirrored True’s performance with a 6-3, 6-0 victory at No. 2 singles against senior Nate Real.
Junior Patrick Heffernan, a transfer from Beech Grove, was perfect at No. 3 singles, winning 6-0, 6-0, to secure the team’s fourth dual win in five matches.
“Matthew mixed it up well, and Carson played a strong match against a good player. Carson is very consistent and keeps the ball deep,” Evans said. “Patrick Heffernan is an asset for us.”
Typically, an area of strength, Greenfield-Central head coach Michael Turpin looks for his senior singles players to build from the loss.
“Those are the spots you should count on for at least one of them, but New Pal came out tough today and those guys played very well,” Turpin said. “With five seniors in my lineup, they know. I think they’ll learn from it tonight.”
The Cougars didn’t back down at doubles, however.
The tandem of Saben Fletcher and Dylan Wilburn beat David Hockett and Nick Rusche 6-4, 6-1 to secure Greenfield-Central’s first point.
The duo won two matches this past weekend during the Triton Central Invitational and with their win against New Palestine, improved to 5-0.
The No. 2 doubles pairing of Kole Willis and Noah Mohler were resilient in earning the team’s second point.
“Our doubles teams looked fantastic, especially two doubles,” Turpin said. “They started both sets down and then came back and won. They held on pretty tough, so that was good.”
Willis, a junior, and Mohler, a sophomore, won 6-4, 6-4 against juniors Tyler Swain and Colby Wagoner. Their efforts helped the Cougars turn the page from last year’s 5-0 regular-season dual loss to the defending Hancock County champions.
The Cougars continue to face a challenging path this week with matches against No. 12 Delta, Whiteland and Morristown the next three days.
“Those four matches in a row will be a good test of our endurance,” Turpin said. “We still have county. We still have sectional. We have a long season left.”
New Palestine 3, Greenfield-Central 2
No. 1 Singles: Matthew True (NP) def. Zak Lawhorn (G-C), 6-3, 6-0
No. 2 Singles: Carson Gavin (NP) def. Nate Real (G-C), 6-3, 6-0
No. 3 Singles: Patrick Heffernan (NP) def. Kyle Willis (G-C), 6-0, 6-0
No. 1 Doubles: Saben Fletcher/Dylan Wilburn (G-C) def. David Hockett/Nick Rusche (NP), 6-4 6-1
No. 2 Doubles: Kole Willis/Noah Mohler (G-C) def. Tyler Swain/Colby Wagoner (NP), 6-4, 6-4