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GOSHEN â€” Warsaw won all five of its matches Saturday at Goshen to earn the Tigers the Northern Lakes Conference Boys Tennis title.
Plymouth entered the NLC Tournament last Wednesday in a three-way tie with Warsaw and Concord after each team suffered just one during round robin play. But the Pilgrims were only able to win two of their matches at Saturdayâ€™s final round to finish in second overall behind Warsaw.
â€śWe went in the day tied with them as far as points and possibilities, and Warsaw won all five matches, and we were only able to win two,â€ť said Plymouth head coach Michael Delp.
â€śNothing was disappointing. We ended up losing by I think six points overall, but one or two of those matches go the other way and we definitely had a crack at that championship.â€ť
Key to the final conference standings were a trio of head-to-head losses to Warsaw by the Pilgrims.
John Hunter fell 6-2, 6-1 to Sam Rice for third place in the 1 singles standings, Kyle Wettschurack defeated John Gerard in a close three-setter, 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 for third place at 2 singles, and the Tigers 2 doubles team of Caleb Ray and Nic Jansen defeated Plymouthâ€™s Braydon Davidson and Ryan Johnson 6-2, 7-5 for the championship at their position.
Plymouthâ€™s lone championship came at 1 doubles, where senior Matt Flynn and junior Max Holloway handed NorthWoodâ€™s Quinn Stillson and Caleb Yoder a convincing 6-2, 6-0 defeat after the Panthers duo beat out their Pilgrims counterparts in three sets in round robin play earlier this year.
Nate Knapp earned a third-place finish at 3 singles with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 over Goshenâ€™s Luke Rush, meanwhile.
â€śMax might have played two matches last year at the varsity level. He moved up to the 1 doubles spot; he was a singles player most of the year last year so to jump into doubles and come away with a championship, he put in some time this summer,â€ť said Delp. â€śMatt was definitely the leader on that team, has been all year for our whole team, and Max has done a good job of just following Mattâ€™s lead and filling in there. It was very satisfying to see a senior kind of come through in his senior year. It was good to see Matt finish on a high note after losing to NorthWood in a tough match. To see them bounce back with a win was very satisfying to watch.â€ť
Along with the Flynn-Holloway championship, Hunter was voted unanimously All-Northern Lakes Conference at-large towards the tail end of a strong sophomore season at 1 singles.
â€śHeâ€™s one of three guys that were voted in, and heâ€™s definitely deserving of that,â€ť Delp said.
With the runner-up conference finish, Plymouth enters Bremen Sectional play this week, where the Pilgrims are seeking their 17th straight sectional title and 24th overall. Draws for the tournament take place tonight.
â€śOverall the conference performance by our team was very good. In a lot of ways it was a great success. You come into the last day of the tournament tied and you always feel a little disappointment not coming away with a championship, but I didnâ€™t feel like our guys backed down, and ultimately Warsawâ€™s experience and success last year kind of carried over,â€ť Delp said. â€śAt some point weâ€™ll have to break that streak that they have, but I think our guys will come away very motivated from that experience.â€ť
â€˘ NORTHERN LAKES CONFERENCE TENNIS TOURNAMENT
Plymouth results from Saturday
Sam Rice (Warsaw) d. John Hunter (Plymouth) 6-2 , 6-1 for 3rd.
Kyle Wettschurack (Warsaw) d. John Gerard (Plymouth) 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 for 3rd.
Nate Knapp (Plymouth) d. Luke Rush (Goshen) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 for 3rd.
Matt Flynn-Max Holloway (Plymouth) d. Quinn Stillson-Caleb Yoder (NorthWood) 6-2, 6-0 for championship.
Caleb Ray-Nic Jansen (Warsaw) d. Braydon Davidson-Ryan Johnson (Plymouth) 6-2, 7-5 for championship.