VEEDERSBURG — It was only a matter of time before Fountain Central’s senior leadership stepped up in a pressure situation.
The final score may have read 5-0, but with their backs against the wall, the Mustangs went to work, erasing three first set losses to sweep Southmont in boys’ tennis on Monday night.
The win comes after a 3-2 loss to the Mounties in 2019, and pushes the Mustangs to a perfect 3-0 in the early part of 2020.
“We’ve got some matches that we kind of pinpoint on the schedule and say ‘okay let’s see if we can flip that,’ and last year was a tough 3-2 loss and tonight easily could have been a 3-2 loss,” Fountain Central coach Chris Webb said. “We had three positions where we lost the first set, and then we were able to win the next two. I’m real proud of the guys how they dug deep.”
At No. 1 singles, Carson Eberly came from behind to defeat Adam Cox 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. The second biggest comeback came at No. 2 doubles as Sawyer Keeling and Brent Myers defeated Chayce Howell and Harrison Haddock 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5, even after trailing 5-2 in the third and decisive set.
The confidence building will pay huge dividends down the road.
“It builds confidence,” Webb added. “When you’ve been in this position before, you find a way to pull one out. Maybe you’re not playing your best or you’re playing against somebody who is exerting their will on you to start the match, and you find a way to change the momentum of the match or find a way to pull one out, that builds confidence.”
Youth and inexperience played a factor for the Mounties, as they dropped a third straight loss to start the season.
“We only have three people who have ever played in a varsity match of any kind in any sport in their life until last week,” Southmont coach Nathan Poynter said. “We are loaded with sophomores.”
At No. 2 singles Cody Linville defeated Luke Tesmer 6-0, 6-0, while Jacob Keeling and CJ Yager beat Mason Hall and Micah Korhorn 7-6(5), 6-2 at No. 2 doubles.
The Mustangs’ lone non-senior starter, freshman Brayden Prickett came from behind to beat Luke Watson 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 at No. 3 singles.
“Something that he (Prickett) does really well, is he moves well,” Webb said. “He’s a natural athlete. A good basketball player, and he has picked up this sport very quickly.”
Southmont is right back at it on Tuesday with a showdown against the defending Sagamore Conference champions in Western Boone. Poynter knows the improvement from is players is just getting started.
“I think we have a lot of opportunity, and I think our doubles will come fast and I think they will end up being pretty good for us, they just have to get some of the jitters out of them,” he said. “We need some more experience, and we need some guys to start relaxing more when they’re playng and that will come with time.”
Fountain Central travels to North Montgomery.