Marion relied on its powerful singles lineup to knock off Delta 3-2 in the championship match of the Marion Regional boys’ tennis tournament Wednesday evening.
The result snapped Delta’s seven-year regional winning streak.
Delta has won 23 of the past 25 regional titles. In each of the two that the Eagles did not win (2011 and 2019), Marion was the winner.
Delta started strong with dominant victories at No. 1 doubles and No. 2 doubles.
At No. 1, seniors Cade Brown and Mason Knight won 6-0, 6-1 to improve to 19-6 this fall. They will move on in the individual doubles tournament and will play Ryan Scott and Ryan Fuqua of Mississinewa at 5 p.m. Thursday on the Marion courts. The winner will move on to the individual doubles regional on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Kokomo HS.
At No. 2 doubles, senior Jaigen Glaze and sophomore Walker Boyle won 6-2, 6-0. Glaze finished his season with a 19-3 record and Boyle came in at 18-3. Both were playing varsity for the first season. They won 15 of their final 16 matches this season.
Marion’s singles have carried the load for the Giants all season, and Wednesday night was no exception.
Vikram Oddiraju, a junior at No. 1 singles, got Marion on the board with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Delta junior Tanner Southerland. Tanner rallied to tie the second set at 4-4 and against at 5-5 before Oddiraju hung on for the victory. Southerland finished his first season at the top singles spot with a 15-11 record vs. a difficult schedule that saw Delta play 13 state-ranked opponents.
Marion junior Jack Fauser then tied the score at 2-2 by topping Delta senior Daniel Vencel 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3 singles. Many grinding rallies went 30 or more hits in this long match, which led to cramps for Fauser midway through the second set. But after treatment, he regrouped and closed out the victory. Vencel finished his first season of varsity tennis with an 18-7 record.
The match was settled with a three-set match at No. 2 singles between Delta junior Brandon Jackson and Marion senior Noah Lyons. Lyons took the first set 6-4, then Jackson won the second set 6-3. Lyons got the early momentum in the final set and pulled away for a 6-1 victory to seal the regional title. Jackson concluded his first season of varsity singles with a 22-4 record.
Highlights for the Eagles this season:
* 19-4 varsity record and 13-2 JV record
* Hoosier Heritage Conference champions with 7-0 record
* Sectional champions for the 27th straight year
* No. 23 state ranking
* Only three returning starters from last season, and each of those played a new position as Southerland moved from No. 3 singles to No. 1 singles; Jackson moved from No. 1 doubles to No. 2 singles; and Knight moved from No. 2 doubles to No. 1 doubles.
* All five seniors earned varsity letters (Brown, Knight, Glaze, Vencel and Devin McKinley)
* 28 players on the roster, and all 28 played at least 10 matches this fall
* Varsity won the Delta Invitational. JV won the Kokomo Invitational and the Peru Invitational.