Pilgrims take second at NLC Tournament

GOSHEN — 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 Saturday’s final round to finish in second overall behind Warsaw.
“We 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,” said Plymouth head coach Michael Delp.
“Nothing 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.”
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 Plymouth’s Braydon Davidson and Ryan Johnson 6-2, 7-5 for the championship at their position.
Plymouth’s lone championship came at 1 doubles, where senior Matt Flynn and junior Max Holloway handed NorthWood’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 Goshen’s Luke Rush, meanwhile.
“Max 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,” said Delp. “Matt 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 Matt’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.”
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.
“He’s one of three guys that were voted in, and he’s definitely deserving of that,” 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.
“Overall 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 didn’t feel like our guys backed down, and ultimately Warsaw’s experience and success last year kind of carried over,” Delp said. “At some point we’ll have to break that streak that they have, but I think our guys will come away very motivated from that experience.”
At Goshen
Plymouth results from Saturday
No. 1
Sam Rice (Warsaw) d. John Hunter (Plymouth) 6-2 , 6-1 for 3rd.
No. 2
Kyle Wettschurack (Warsaw) d. John Gerard (Plymouth) 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 for 3rd.
No. 3
Nate Knapp (Plymouth) d. Luke Rush (Goshen) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 for 3rd.
No. 1
Matt Flynn-Max Holloway (Plymouth) d. Quinn Stillson-Caleb Yoder (NorthWood) 6-2, 6-0 for championship.
No. 2
Caleb Ray-Nic Jansen (Warsaw) d. Braydon Davidson-Ryan Johnson (Plymouth) 6-2, 7-5 for championship.