Southmont won its second Sagamore Conference match in as many days with a 5-0 sweep of Montgomery County rival Crawfordsville on Thursday night.
After a long stretch of dominance by the Athenians in Montgomery County tennis — the Mounties have defeated Crawfordsville three-straight years and four of the last five.
The Mounties lineup, which features five varsity returners from last season, has that winning experience against the Athenians and has helped form a winning culture.
“It kind of changes things and some of the outlook,” Southmont coach Nathan Poynter said of Southmont’s third-straight win over its county rival. “There were some times in the past where I felt like we should have won the sectional about three different times and we didn’t. So I think it’s a mindset thing. It sets a mindset that you’re suppose to win. And in kids it matters more than people can ever imagine to just have that mindset that we should win and that’s the way it should be.”
Adam Cox blanked James Murphy 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, while Luke Tesmer fought off Wyatt Motz in a straight-set win 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 2 slot.
The duo of Harrison Haddock and Chayce Howell made quick work of Ziair Morgan and Thomas Bowling 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles.
At No. 3 singles, sophomore Hayden Hess continued his strong varsity season debut with a 6-3, 6-1 win over James Novak.
“He doesn’t have much experience,” Poynter said. “And he’s played some really good matches and done really well for us and he could be a big key for us throughout the year.”
Crawfordsville’s duo of Thatcher Gambrel and Jude Hutchison nearly forced a third-set at No. 1 doubles, but fell 6-3, 7-6(7-5) to Southmont’s Mason Hall and Caden Jones.
“I feel like they came out better than most of our matches this year,” Crawfordsville coach Craig Brainard said of his team. “I thought they were playing mentally tough. And I was proud of them. I saw bright spots in every varsity match tonight as far as the mental toughness goes. Staying positive was a huge improvement.”
As the Mounties move to 6-2 on the seaosn and 2-0 in the Sagamore Conference, Hall and Jones are still getting acclimated to each other as new doubles’ partners.
“Our No. 1 doubles at times played really really well, and they can do that, they just get tensed up at times,” Poynter said. “That’s probably the biggest challenge of this team. We still played tense in a couple spots at times. Some of the things we want to improve and keep on going. We just need to loosen up.”
Thursday was Crawfordsville’s first taste of the SAC, and Brainard knows there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
“There’s still things to work on,” he said. “Some young guys that have mechanical issues and some older guys that we are still looking for them to really step into that leadership role, but for the most part we are seeing progress.”