CAMBRIDGE CITY, Ind. — Centerville isn’t satisfied.
The Bulldogs came away with a 4-1 victory over Lincoln on Monday in Tri-Eastern Conference boys tennis, but they also came away with an eye toward continued improvement.
Several big matches are on the horizon, and the district-ranked Bulldogs want to be at their best.
A feisty and talented Lincoln squad was first on that agenda.
“We always know they are going to be a good competitor,” Centerville’s Blake Shook said of Lincoln. “It was great to win it.
“I like how we’re playing, but we can improve on a lot of things because we’re not playing to our full potential. But we’re still playing pretty well.”
Shook teamed with Skyler Benedict to win in three sets, the longest match of the day. They halted Jacob Kissick and Austin Lanich 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
“Hopefully this is a good indication of us practicing and being able to go to conference and win it,” Benedict said.
Centerville’s Justyn North was first off the court at No. 3 singles.
The Bulldogs followed with a 6-0, 6-3 victory by Nathan Cheek and Josh Duke at No. 2 doubles, and Nolan Witte’s 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles.
That guaranteed Centerville the team victory, and a 3-0 start to TEC matches. The Bulldogs are the defending conference champions, having swept the regular-season crown and tournament title a year ago.
“(Lincoln) played extremely well. I know that we’re very close with lots of different teams,” said Centerville coach Randy Ecker.
“We’ve got to really get our feet back on the ground and realize we have work to do. We have to be more competitive. … We need to keep our head up and not get mad when things aren’t going our way.”
Lincoln’s Seth Martin won at No. 1 singles.
The Golden Eagles were coming off winning the team title at Saturday’s Rushville Invitational. Martin and teammate Seth Morris both went 3-0 in singles play at Rushville, as did the doubles duos of Kissick and Lanich and Jeb Reece and Nate Gulde.
“My No. 1 said he wanted to win and played with a bunch of heart,” said Lincoln coach Elizabeth Wonsetler. “He just absolutely refused to lose, and I think that’s great.
“I’m really pleased with No. 1 doubles coming back in that third set. A couple points here and there, and that’s how you win doubles, a couple points here and there.”
Lincoln is now 10-3 overall, 2-1 in the TEC. The Golden Eagles return to action Wednesday at home vs. Northeastern.
“We have a big week coming up,” Wonsetler said. “I’m not unhappy with our play. I think this is a great match for us to play for the rest of the week.”
Centerville (9-1) returns to action Wednesday as well, traveling to Tri High. The Bulldogs also play host to Union County on Thursday and will be at the Merrillville tournament on Saturday.
The week after, Centerville will see Richmond, Northeastern and Hagerstown in matches, leading up to the start of the TEC Tournament on Sept. 26.
“We have Tri High and Union County, and then we go to Merrillville, and that’s always a really good week,” Ecker said. “Then we come back and we have Richmond, which is going to be really good to get us ready for Northeastern and Hagerstown.”
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI
BULLDOGS 4, GOLDEN EAGLES 1
SINGLES — No. 1 – Martin (LIN) def. Lair 6-1, 6-4; No. 2 – Witte (CEN) def. Morris 6-0, 6-2; No. 3 – North (CEN) def. Berry 6-1, 6-0.
DOUBLES — No. 1 – Benedict and Shook (CEN) def. Lanich and Kissick 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; No. 2 – Duke and Cheek (CEN) def. Reece and Gulde 6-0, 6-3.