MV clinches sectional with three-set win

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FORTVILLE — There was no sharing this time.

Earlier this month, Mt. Vernon and Greenfield-Central were crowned co-champions of the Hancock County Tournament.

It was believed to be the first time two schools had accumulated the same amount of points in semifinal, final and consolation rounds of the five individual tournaments competed between the four county schools.

The co-county champs, Eastern Hancock, New Palestine and Madison County’s Pendleton Heights battled all week at Mt. Vernon High School to crown a champion at Mt. Vernon Sectional 47 of the IHSAA Boys Tennis State Tournament.

The Royals, Dragons and Arabians were eliminated Wednesday and Thursday. It all came down to the county’s two best teams to decide the sectional champion and berth into next week’s regional.

And, as expected, it came down to the final set of the final match.

Mt. Vernon broke a 2-2 tie by winning a three-set marathon at No. 2 doubles, claiming a 3-2 victory and the program’s third sectional title in the last four years Friday.

Matt Jones and Max Orelup defeated Greenfield-Central’s Alex Michalek and Michael Kwiatkowski 6-7, 6-3, 7-5 to win the decisive match that lasted close to three hours.

Jones-Orelup jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, before Michalek-Kwiatkowski won the next four games. There were three deuce points in the final game before the Marauder pair celebrated the hard-fought match.

“(Max) and I were definitely talking a lot more (in the third set) and we were approaching the net more,” Jones said of their strategy. “We didn’t want them to play the ball deep and wanted to put pressure on them and force them into errors.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way we played,” Mt. Vernon coach Gabe Muterspaugh said, speaking of his entire group of singles and doubles players. “We had different guys step up every night this week.”

One of those “different guys” was the No. 1 doubles team of Robbie Moore and Bryndan Wylie. They lost head-to-head matches to Pendleton Heights in the first round Wednesday and a semifinal match to Eastern Hancock Thursday.

Against Greenfield-Central’s Luke Sitzman and Caden Robertson, the Marauder tandem won 6-4, 6-2. At the time it evened the match 1-1.

Greenfield-Central No. 2 singles player Chris Long was the first to leave the court. He beat Manny Downs 6-0, 6-3.

Following the Mt. Vernon doubles win, its No. 1 singles player did what he’s done most all year. Adam Koon improved to 23-1 on the year with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over C.J. Michalek.

The Cougars evened it at No. 3 singles. Senior Matt Hyre finished his season 18-0 with a 7-6, 6-1 win over freshman Tate Cougill.

“We knew it would be close but I think the match was significantly closer than anyone thought it would be. I don’t think anyone would have predicted it would come down to 5-7 in the third set of the final match,” Greenfield-Central coach Michael Turpin said. “We have a lot to be proud of this year and a lot to look forward to.”

Both teams are young. Mt. Vernon does not have a senior on its varsity roster. Hyre is G-C’s only senior.

“He had a phenomenal senior season,” Turpin said of his No. 3 singles standout. “I couldn’t be more proud of how he played this season.”

Greenfield-Central was looking for its first sectional title since 2007.

Greenfield-Central finished its season 17-5. Mt. Vernon is 17-4 and will play Heritage Christian Tuesday at the Fishers Regional.

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