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Manchester, Wabash bow out at sectional

TENNIS: Wabash’s Rob Ford returns a shot during the Apaches’ sectional contest against Peru at Thrush Courts on Wednesday.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

PERU – There was to be an all Miami County final at the IHSAA Peru Boys’ Tennis Sectional Thursday night after Peru and Maconaquah won their matches over Wabash County opposition Wednesday evening at Thrush Tennis Courts.

The Tigers and Braves both won by 4-1 scorelines with the former defeating Wabash and the latter taking down Manchester.

Wabash head coach Niko Macaluso said the draw did the Apaches no favors and the players just didn’t have it on Wednesday.

“We knew Peru was the team to beat and the favorite going in,” Macaluso said. “We played them a lot closer in the last match, especially at No. 2 and 3 singles.”

Gabe Baker and Ben Beckman got the winning roll started for Peru with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Nick Ewing and Richard Steg at No. 2 doubles

Christopher Dicken and Greysen Spohn added the second point at No. 1 doubles with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Jonah France and Logan Luttrell.

Singles matches pushed the Tigers over the top as Leif Astrup picked up the match-winning point at No. 2 singles with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Asif Khan while Brad Ryan defeated Dave Ford at No. 3 singles 6-0, 6-2.

“We kind of knew yesterday that the guys looked a little nervous,” Macaluso noted. “They wouldn’t admit to that but today, at No. 2 and 3 singles, we definitely had some nerves. Both guys played better in the second sets but we didn’t have the start we were looking for.”

Wabash’s sole win of the evening was an important one as Rob Ford managed to hold off Ryan Smith at No. 1 singles, the only match of the day that went to three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

 “I’m glad Rob pulled that out,” Macaluso said about Ford’s match at No. 1 singles. “He definitely battled and both he and Ryan were gassed in that third set. It was a heck of a tennis match.”

Maconaquah picked up both doubles points in short order as the team of Brennan Bailey and Wesley Yoars swept past Justin Hall and Isaac Reichenbach 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 doubles while Walker Hays and Tyler Thayer blanked Korbin Hensley and Sam Hupp at No. 2 doubles 6-0, 6-0.

Cole Borden added the match-winning point with a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles over Brady Wiley while Hayden Maiben added the fourth point with a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles over Ethan Espeset.

Manchester sole point came at No. 2 singles where Quinn Martin won two tightly contested sets over Mason Yoars 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.

As a result of his win, Ford will move on to next week’s IHSAA Boys’ Tennis Individual Sectional held at Culver Military Academy.

There is a strong likelihood that Ford will see Borden at Culver if the senior wants to claim the sectional title with Macaluso saying both knew it was going to take the best effort Ford had to claim a win over the defending individual sectional champion.

“Rob met Cole last year up at the sectional and he wasn’t ready to play, nor did the match go as he anticipated,” Macaluso said. “They played earlier this year and I’m not sure I’ve seen Cole play that good in a few other matches.

“There are some things we need to work on and some things we need to execute for when they play next. (Rob) has taken Cole to three sets before, so we’re hoping he brings his A-game and competes.”