FISHERS — In front of a raucous crowd, a young Mt. Vernon boys tennis team fell under the pressure and intensity that is IHSAA regional play.
In a hard-fought match, the Marauders lost 3-2 to Heritage Christian in a regional semifinal match at Fishers High School Tuesday.
“We turned it around big time this season, but this is just a different environment. This is a different animal of pressure. You have tons of people watching, and it’s loud and crazy every point. I love this, but my guys haven’t been through it before,” Mt. Vernon head coach Gabe Muterspaugh said. “I think that was a big factor, and it was just a point here and a point there. But that’s state tournament tennis. It’s that level of intensity every single point. We just came up a little bit short.”
With every matchup finished outside of the No. 2 doubles, and things squared away at 2-2, Mt. Vernon’s hopes of advancing rested on the shoulders of Matt Jones and Max Orelup.
After falling behind 0-5 in set one, they were able to fight back and force a tiebreaker before losing the set 7-6 (4). They controlled set two and won 6-4 to force a third. The final set was back-and-forth before Zach Hastings and Blake Morgan took the last two games to win 6-4 and eliminate the Marauders.
“I’m so proud of my team. I told them to remember this moment,” Muterspaugh said. “Granted, we’ve got to do a lot of things, but we have the opportunity with the guys that we have coming back to be a state-ranked team and put Mt. Vernon on the map. It’s up to them though. I can lead them to water, but I can’t make them drink it.”
Mt. Vernon’s two points on the night came from the No.1 singles and No.1 doubles.
At singles, Adam Koon moved to 24-1 on the season with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Zach Lemming.
With the win, Koon advanced to the individual sectional finals today against Fishers’ Reese Knoderer.
“I thought Adam got the nerves out (Tuesday), and you’ll see a different player (today). He’s got a chance to set the mark and really put his name on the map,” Muterspaugh said. “He plays a really good Fishers kid, but he’s beatable. Adam’s beaten everybody but one that he’s run into this year. We’re very excited for his opportunity.”
In the No. 1 doubles spot, Bryndan Wylie and Robbie Moore defeated Carter Klopfenstein and Reid Schrock in a come-from-behind win. After losing set one 7-5, they fought back and took sets two and three by scores of 6-2 and 6-4.
“I can’t say enough about Bryndan and Robbie,” Muterspaugh said. “They are a mix of oil and water a lot of times, but they find a way to win, and that’s what I love. They’re competitive and they get after it.”
Mt. Vernon fell in straight sets at No. 2 and No.3 singles.
At No. 2, Manny Downs lost to Luke Tiernon 7-6 (1), 6-4, and at No. 3 Tate Cougill lost to James Vandeventer 6-0, 6-3.
“You’re going to have failures, it’s how you respond. Once you get knocked down, do you get back up?” Muterspaugh said. “Our guys did, and now we’re going to have a great offseason and hopefully we’re back here next year.”