Cougars blank rival Arabians

Greenfield-Central No.1 singles Matt Hyre returns a serve during his match against Pendleton Heights on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. ( Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

By Rick Teverbaugh/For Daily Reporter

PENDLETON — In a match that lasted over two hours, Greenfield-Central stopped Hoosier Heritage Conference foe Pendleton Heights, 5-0, to go to 12-4 on the season.

The biggest single reason for the match length was the competition at No. 2 doubles where the Cougars’ duo of Tyler White and Casey Hunt needed three sets before defeating Cole Bubenzer and Mark Neilsen, 6-4, 4-6. 6-4.

“After that first set, I think we forgot a little bit who we were,” said Greenfield-Central coach Michael Turpin.

At one point in the match’s final set, a line judge was called to the court after a dispute over a call.

“I think that can definitely upset the flow of the match,” said Turpin. “But we recovered.”

“As for that doubles team, they play a little more the way it is supposed to be played,” said Pendleton Heights coach Royce Hammel. “By that I mean be aggressive and get to the net. But there are still things we can work on.”

The first match off the court was at No. 2 singles where Chris Long stopped PH’s Ryland Mills, 6-0, 6-1. Long’s record of 12-3 on the season closely mimics that of the team.

“He started the season at doubles, but we had an injury and needed to move him to singles,” said Turpin. “For a sophomore, he’s playing really well. He’s made the adjustment. His skills allow him to play either singles or doubles.”

Long’s strategy in this match was simple, facing an unknown foe. “I just try to figure out what his weakness is and try to exploit that,” said Long. “I tried to get to the net as often as I could.”

As the clouds parted during the early stages of the match, the temperature rose noticeably. It didn’t matter to Long. “We do a lot of conditioning. I don’t think it bothered us.”

At No. 1 singles, Greenfield-Central’s Mathew Hyre was on a 6-0, 2-0 roll when the Arabians’ Sam Bowers was forced to retire.

“He’s been struggling with a tennis elbow,” said Hammel of Bowers. “He’s played a lot of long tough matches against quality opponents. He’s played well this year, but the last couple of times out he’s been more erratic. That could be because of the injury. We’re going to rest him until next week.”

At No. 3 singles, the Cougars’ Caden Robertson defeated Austin Perny, 6-2, 6-3. The No. 1 doubles team of Corbin Tilley and Jack Weidner toppled Logan Jones and Stoker, 6-0, 6-1.

“For the most part we play as good as we want,” said Turpin. “I’m ecstatic at the way we’ve played this season.”

The Cougars travel to Alexandria on Thursday to face the Tigers.

It doesn’t get easier for the Arabians (5-10) as they travel to Lapel Thursday to take on the defending Madison county champion Bulldogs.