Knights aim to hold off hopefuls

Knights aim to hold off hopefuls

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Knights aim to hold off hopefuls

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Northeastern seeks a fourth straight sectional title in boys tennis.

Four other teams seek to knock the Knights off their perch.

Play begins today on the Tiernan Center tennis courts as Centerville opens against Lincoln.

The Bulldogs own nine sectional championships, the last coming in 2011. Northeastern also won a sectional title that year, but played that tournament at Jay County. The other two Knight crowns during this run were won in Richmond.

“I know we’re going to have to play well,” said Centerville coach Randy Ecker.

“My team is playing well now, and we just have to go in and take it one match at a time, and we’ll see what happens.”

Lincoln edged Centerville 3-2 during the regular season. Northeastern won the recent Tri-Eastern Conference Tournament, followed by Centerville in second and Lincoln third.

The Knights won four flights, with Centerville’s No. 2 doubles duo of Matt Stamper and Craig Lair preventing the sweep.

“They beat us earlier 3-2,” Ecker said of the Golden Eagles. “I know we’re going to have to play well. Our doubles teams played them tough the other day, had some close matches and ended up winning. But when you’re that close, anything can happen.”

Northeastern faces Hagerstown on Thursday, while Richmond faces the Lincoln-Centerville winner in the other semifinal.

The final is scheduled for Friday.

Richmond ended its regular season 12-4, and had a third-place finish at last Saturday’s Delta Invitational.

Northeastern is ranked 15th in the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association state poll. The winner of the sectional moves on to the Richmond regional Oct. 8-9, which also features the New Castle, South Dearborn and Connersville sectional champions.

In other area sectional action, Union County faces host Connersville, while Rushville meets Franklin County. Randolph Southern meets host Jay County, while Winchester takes on Union City.

“I can’t wait,” said Northeastern senior Jacob Rankin, who plays at No. 1 singles for the Knights. “I’m really looking forward to it. We’re going to have a tough match. … Great bunch of teams that are going to be there.

“We’re going to have to come out and fight.”

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