FORTVILLE — The result was the same, but the way accomplished was more decisive.
Greenfield-Central defeated New Palestine 4-1 in one of two semifinal round matches of Mt. Vernon Sectional 47 of the IHSAA Boys Tennis Team State Tournament Thursday.
The Cougars (17-4) will take on host Mt. Vernon (16-4) today at 4:30 p.m. for the sectional title and berth into next week’s regional round. Greenfield-Central is looking for its first sectional championship since 2007.
Thursday’s Cougars’ victory was their second against the Dragons this season. In a match at Greenfield-Central on Aug. 24, the Cougars won 3-2.
One of the turnarounds was at No. 1 doubles. G-C’s Caden Robertson and Michael Kwiatkowski had lost to New Pal’s Max Havel and Eli Sloan 7-6, 6-4 in the early season match. Robertson, with Lucas Sitzman as his partner, bounced back to beat them in a three-setter at the Hancock County Tournament earlier this month.
On Thursday in Fortville, Robertson and Sitzman were one of the Cougars four straight-set wins, picking up a convincing 6-3, 6-1 victory.
“In the regular season we beat them 3-2,” Greenfield-Central coach Michael Turpin said. “Our goal has been to improve every single day. To come out and win 4-1, even the one we lost was the longest match of the day. It was so close. It shows how much work our guys have been putting in.”
At No. 2 singles, G-C’s Chris Long, who lost at No. 1 to New Pal’s Moses Haynes in the regular-season matchup, was the first off the court for the Cougars. He gave his team a 1-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Arjomand Khokhar.
The Cougars made it 2-0 when the No. 2 doubles group of Kwitakowski and Alex Michalek defeated Will Hahn and Joey McPike 6-3, 6-2.
The No. 1 doubles team picked up the match-clinching third win.
“I was really impressed with No. 1 doubles,” Turpin said. “They had a very close, long match, at county. The first time (playing New Palestine) we lost at No. 1 doubles. To come out to win 6-3, 6-1, I thought that was huge for them. You could tell they had it together (Thursday).”
Greenfield-Central’s lone senior Matthew Hyre won the No. 3 singles match over Brady Torzewski 6-3, 6-0.
New Palestine’s lone win came from Haynes. He beat CJ Michalek, who had beaten Khokhar at No. 2 in August, in the evening’s most competitive match, 6-4, 6-4. Haynes will go on to compete in the IHSAA Individual Sectional Tournament next week.
“Moses played well,” New Palestine coach Jean Graham said. “He deserves to advance. He played a good player. It was close and he came through like a champ. We’re looking forward to going on to the (individual tournament). I think he can do well. We’re happy for him.”
Haynes is 12-4 on the season.
The Dragons finished the year 8-11.