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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, October 07, 2017 1:00 am

Spartans hope tennis puzzle keeps fitting

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

Semistate

When: 10 a.m. today

Where: Homestead

Lineup: Homestead vs. Delta; Concord vs. North Central

The Homestead boys tennis team is working on putting the finishing touches on a successful season.

Another piece was added when the No. 4 Spartans won the regional title Wednesday with a 4-1 victory over No. 6 Leo, and they hope to add another today with a semistate win over No. 20 Delta.

“We've talked all season that this has been a puzzle, and we have to put the puzzle together,” coach Kerry Mumma said. “The biggest thing I told them was to enjoy the ride, enjoy the journey. The kids, parents and coaches get caught up in results so much that they don't enjoy the journey but I just told them, 'Let me worry about it and you guys just enjoy this.'”

With the pieces continuing to come together throughout the season, everything is coming together at the right time.

“I think we're all feeling like we're peaking right now,” No. 1 doubles player Will Milne said. “Daniel (Gilbert), our No. 3 singles player, is playing the best tennis I've ever seen him play. Bryant (Zitlaw) and I, even though we only started playing together halfway through the season, I think we're really starting to play well together. Everyone else is just playing great.”

The closest Delta and Homestead came to playing this year was at the Carroll Invitational, but the teams drew opposite brackets and never faced each other.

“I know they're strong at No. 1 and have a pretty good doubles team,” Mumma said. “It's one match at a time, I know it sounds cliché. We talk to our kids all the time about one match at a time. I think we'll be OK from just, we got this one under our belts and I hope our kids come out and just play loose.”

There's confidence heading into today's matches with the fact the Spartans avoided No. 2 Indianapolis North Central until possibly the state quarterfinals.

“My freshman year (in 2014), we had to play North Central so we were happy we won regionals but then in semistate, having to go play the No. 1 team in the state, that was kind of a bummer,” Milne said. “One of the years we lost (2015), we had the 'good draw,' as we call it, where we wouldn't have to play North Central until the state finals. We're really just trying to take it one match at a time so we're just focusing on Delta right now.”

areichel@jg.net