Homestead's run in the boys tennis state tournament came to an end on Friday as No. 1 Carmel beat the No. 4 Spartans 5-0 in the quarterfinals of the IHSAA state finals.
All five matches ended in straight sets on Carmel's home courts.
“We didn't give it away, that's for sure. We played pretty well,” Homestead coach Michael Hower said. “Carmel, overall on all five courts, played so clean with so few errors, the exact things you want in tennis.”
Carmel junior Broc Fletcher beat Homestead senior Samuel Hutner 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles. Junior Eli Mercer beat Spartans freshman Stephen Meier 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 singles, and sophomore Jack Jentz beat Homestead junior Jared Sagan 6-0, 6-1.
Homestead's and Carmel's No. 1 doubles teams had split their matches this season and gone into third sets in each match, but this time Carmel junior Srisanth Malpeddi and senior Jones McNamar beat Homestead seniors Landon Sather and Tim Steiner 6-4, 6-2.
Carmel seniors Ethan Eckhart and Corbin King beat Homestead's Sebastian Cowan and Alex Graber 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.
“I think everyone was looking at each other like, 'Could we have done much more?' That was sort of the question,” Hower said. “And I think when you know that you played pretty good, or close to your best, and it didn't change anything, it doesn't exactly make it better, but it makes it easier to walk off the court and say, 'Well, that's all I've got.' And that's the look we got from each other.”
Jasper and Brownsburg played on the courts behind Homestead and Carmel, and Hower said it was tempting to think that the Spartans would've rather drawn either of those teams after beating them in the regular season.
“We could be looking at all these what-ifs and 'buts' and all that,” Hower said. “But in reality we felt like we belonged on the same court because of all the adversity we faced in the year, because of the quarantine of one of our best players, because of me taking over three weeks (into) the regular season (for Kerry Mumma). It was kind of like, 'You know what, why not us?'”