Jeeps capture decisive win over PaoliSeptember 30, 2020
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
LOOGOOTEE — Blustery winds caused no problems for the Northeast Dubois boys tennis team on Wednesday evening. The Jeeps (15-3) secured a convincing 5-0 victory over Paoli in a Sectional 18 match at Loogootee.
A strong start gave Northeast Dubois an early boost. Jeeps senior Ross Mehringer seized a 6-0, 6-0 victory at Two Singles.
Throughout his match, Mehringer stuck to an aggressive approach.
“I was attacking the net, throwing in a few drop shots and adjusting to the wind,” he said. “It was crazy warming up, but it died down. Out there, it wasn’t as bad.”
Northeast Dubois junior Nick Hemmerlein earned a 6-4, 6-1 win at Three Singles. Because the shorthanded Rams forfeited the Two Doubles match, Hemmerlein clinched the win for the Jeeps.
As the team racked up the quick victories, one notion became quite clear — Northeast Dubois appears to be peaking at the right time.
“We’ve improved a lot throughout the year,” Jeeps head coach Dwayne Knies said. “Actually, I think we’ve really improved a lot in the last three or four weeks. We’ve really turned it on.”
The Jeeps completed the sweep with two victories at One Singles and One Doubles. At One Singles, junior Aden Thewes claimed a 6-1, 6-1 win. Northeast Dubois seniors Tanner Hurt and Logan Lampert recorded a 6-2, 6-2 victory at One Doubles.
Although the strong gusts blew across the court, Hurt was prepared for the elements.
“Our coach really focuses on warming up on both sides of the court,” he said. “We can get ready and adapt to those conditions. That’s his big deal — adapting to conditions.”
During the regular season, Northeast Dubois searched for effective lineup combinations. As they prepared for the postseason, the Jeeps established a level of consistency.
“We’ve kind of settled into our lineup,” Knies said. “We were mixing our lineup up for a while there. We’ve kind of settled into something.”
As each match concluded, the Jeeps came together and congratulated the victors. The squad’s camaraderie permeated throughout the courts.
“We have a lot of pride at our school,” Knies said. “I think our tennis program has a lot of pride. We’ve put a lot of work and time into our program. The boys have worked extremely hard and put a lot of time into it. We’ve been very successful through the years here, and there’s a lot of pride the boys have about it. They want to keep the tradition going. They want to come out and play well.”
Barr-Reeve will play Loogootee at 5 p.m. Thursday in Loogootee. Northeast Dubois will face the winner of that match at 5 p.m. on Friday in the championship.
The Jeeps won five consecutive sectional championships from 2013-17. A win Friday would be their sixth all-time.
“You don’t get too many opportunities to play for a sectional championship when you’re in high school sports,” Knies said. “We’re excited. We’re not sure who we’re going to play yet, but there will be two good teams battling it out tomorrow. We’re going to practice tomorrow for a little bit. On Friday, we’ll hopefully come out here and play our best tennis of the season.”
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