The Delta Eagles’ boys’ tennis postseason came to an end Saturday evening … but in an unusual twist, the season is not quite over yet.
Sixteenth-ranked Delta (19-4) lost a 5-0 decision to third-ranked Indianapolis North Central (21-2) in the Homestead Semi-State. The match was played indoors at Wildwood Racquet Club in Fort Wayne due to rain earlier in the day.
Delta still has one match remaining, however. The Eagles will play Mt. Vernon in a makeup of a match that was rained out twice during the last week of the regular season.
The IHSAA has granted permission for the match to be played because it has implications for the championship of the Hoosier Heritage Conference. Delta is 6-0 in HHC matches, New Palestine is 6-1, and Mt. Vernon is 5-1. Delta can gain the undisputed title with a victory, while Mt. Vernon could force a three-way tie for the title if the Marauders would win.
No official date has been determined yet, but it will be played during the week of Oct. 15-19 (possibly at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17) at Mt. Vernon courts. Not only will the varsity match determine the league title, but the JV match should be exciting also as Mt. Vernon’s JV is 16-0 for the season.
In Saturday’s semistate match, North Central simply had too much firepower. The closest matches came at No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles.
At No. 2 singles, senior Ben Bamidele was the last match to finish as he battled NC’s Ajay Mahenthiran from start to finish. Mahenthiran, ranked among the top 50 players in the Midwest in 16-under singles, won 7-6 (5), 6-2. Bamidele is 18-8 for the season.
At No. 2 doubles, junior Mason Knight and sophomore Michael Curtis came up short to NC’s Josh Gerstein and Carter Bailey, 6-3, 6-4. Curtis is 22-4 and Knight is 20-4 for the season.
At No. 1 singles, senior Tannon Dishman fell to nationally ranked Ian Brady, 6-2, 6-2. Brady is ranked third in Indiana and 149th nationally in USTA 16-under singles. Dishman is 21-5 for the season.
At No. 1 doubles, senior Joel Ashman and sophomore Brandon Jackson dropped a 6-2, 6-2 decision to NC seniors Brian McAuley and Nathan Branaman. Ashman is 22-3 and Jackson 22-4 this fall. They had won 15 straight matches together before Saturday’s loss.
At No. 3 singles, sophomore Tanner Southerland fell 6-0, 6-1 to NC’s Mace Shoults, who ranks among the top 10 in Indiana in 16-under singles. Southerland is 19-5 for the fall.
As the season nears its completion, here are some highlights from this year:
- Delta placed first in the Jeffersonville Invitational for the first time in a decade, finishing ahead of 2017 State Runner-Up Jasper and ahead of Columbus North (which is among eight teams remaining in the State Finals). Ben Bamidele at No. 2 singles and Michael Curtis/Mason Knight at No. 2 doubles won their flights.
- Delta won a dual match at Culver Academies (which is also still alive in the IHSAA Team State Finals). Culver pulled off the biggest upset in the semistate round on Saturday by edging 11th-ranked Munster, 3-2.
- Delta played 12 state-ranked teams and came away with an 8-4 record against those teams. In a couple of their best matches of the season, the Eagles lost 3-2 to 6th-ranked Terre Haute South and won 4-1 over 13th-ranked Fort Wayne Carroll.
- Delta won its 26th consecutive sectional championship and won the regional title for the seventh straight year (and the 23rd time in the past 24 years).
- The JV team won the Peru Invitational and the Fort Wayne Carroll Invitational.
- Seniors Tannon Dishman and Joel Ashman are likely to be selected to the Indiana All-Star match at DePauw University on Saturday, Nov. 3rd. Those teams will be announced soon.
- Dishman moved into the Top 10 all-time in career victories for Delta boys’ tennis with 77 wins.
- Coach Cleland gained his 50th sectional title and 1,000th career dual-meet win in boys’ and girls’ tennis.
- The team helped raise money for Briana’s Hope, an addictions recovery support group in east central Indiana. The team contributed to the Chain of Hope fundraiser which will result in a donation of more than $2,000 to Briana’s Hope.
- The team’s four seniors delivered outstanding advice in their Senior Talks to their teammates.
Current Player Records entering the final match against Mt. Vernon
Tannon Dishman 21-5 varsity (77 career wins)
Joel Ashman 22-3 varsity (60 career wins)
Ben Bamidele 18-8 varsity (32 career wins)
Ben Slavin 1-0 varsity 16-4 JV
Mason Knight 20-4 varsity 2-0 JV (35 career wins)
Cade Brown 4-4 varsity 12-2 JV
Jaigen Glaze 2-2 varsity 14-3 JV
Daniel Vencel 1-2 varsity 15-2 JV
Devin McKinley 16-4 JV
Brandon Jackson 22-4 varsity (28 career wins)
Michael Curtis 22-4 varsity (40 career wins)
Tanner Southerland 19-5 varsity (34 career wins)
Riley Windsor 18-2 JV
Josef Zacek 18-3 JV
Sam Arnold 10-10 JV
Jordan Ashton 5-10 JV
Walker Boyle 1-0 varsity 17-4 JV
Eli Arnold 7-10 JV
Brad Shue 4-7 JV
Adam Altobella 4-11 JV
Aidan Landis 4-12 JV
Kaiden Baty 3-11 JV