Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Homestead senior David Heiney improved to 17-2 by beating Carroll’s Luke Stoffel at Homestead on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Homestead's David Heiney hits the ball during his match against Carroll's Luke Stoffel at Homestead on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Homestead's Bryant Zitlaw prepares to hit the ball during his doubles match with Tim Steiner against Carroll at Homestead on Wednesday.
Thursday, October 04, 2018 1:00 am
Spartans a step away from state
Blank host Chargers to win regional, but coach not too happy
ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette
David Heiney has had one thing on his mind since last year – avenging his match-deciding, third-set loss to Park Tudor in the state semifinals.
“Definitely lost some sleep over that match; thought about it for a while,” Heniey said. “And that’s the reason for this year’s motivation to get out of the first round.”
Heiney and the No. 2 ranked Homestead boys tennis team are one step closer to reaching that goal of a state title, winning the Carroll regional championship for the second straight season. The Spartans (16-1) defeated Carroll (14-5) 5-0 on Wednesday.
Despite not giving up a single point, Homestead coach Kerry Mumma wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s performance.
“Obviously not our best performance ... gotta bring it everyday in practice,” Mumma said as he addressed the team after the regional championship ribbons were passed out.
Mumma said he thought the team wasn’t as focused as they should’ve been for a postseason match.
“I just had a gut feeling from the time we stepped onto the court that we just weren’t real focused, but we got through it and I should be happy, I guess,” Mumma said.
The Spartans got the job done, at home nonetheless, after a natural gas incident at Carroll forced the match to be played at Homestead.
“I don’t think I’ve lost at these courts in three years, and I’ve only ever lost twice here in my entire career, “ Heiney said.
The senior defeated Luke Stoffel at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-2, improving his record to 17-2. Mumma said he felt that while Heiney got the job done, he was a little off.
“He makes some really tough matches look easy and there was something about tonight I just felt like he wasn’t on his game,” Mumma said. “If you can win and not play your best, that’s the sign of a champion.”
The No. 1 doubles team of Tim Steiner and Bryant Zitlaw defeated Tyler Gibson and Joshua Jackson 6-0, 6-1.
The duo have lost just four matches this season.
“Bryant is more power-based and I’m more target-based,” Steiner said. “I think we just gel really well.”
Mumma spoke highly of the characteristics of some of the younger players on his team, and how they have handled the pressure of being ranked No. 2 in the state.
“He’s kind of our vocal leader,” Mumma said of Steiner, a sophomore. “Both those guys are quiet at one doubles, but he’s kind of the guy who can get us through the match, and Bryant’s so athletic and overwhelming with his game.”
Andrew Meier, a freshman, defeated Carroll’s Max Carmody 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles.
“With not a whole lot of varsity experience (on the roster), Meier a freshmen, he’s only got one loss on the year, and that’s huge when you can count on a freshmen to do that,” Mumma said.
At No. 2 singles, Daniel Gilbert defeated Grant Newman 6-1, 6-0. The match finished up at the No. 2 doubles spot where Homestead’s Thaddeus Dressel and Landon Sather defeated Jonathan Hess and Ethan Koeneman 6-4, 6-1.
In the individual portion of the tournament, Leo’s Eli Herran and Isaac Steiner defeated Bluffton’s Gabe Eisenhut and Mason Heller 6-0, 6-1.
The Spartans move on to the semistate Saturday.