Plymouth wins Bremen Tennis Sectional
BREMEN — Was there ever any doubt?
Plymouth grabbed its 15th straight sectional crown Saturday, beating host Bremen 4-1 at DeSantis Courts. The championship represented the program’s 22nd overall.
“Plymouth’s just a great team and has a great coach,” said Bremen Head Tennis Coach Andrew Rohde. “They just come out to play every single match. They’re a great program so there’s no shame in losing to Plymouth. We’re not giving up or anything, we’re going to keep fighting. Our guys came out, and they played well, but Plymouth’s just a better team and they got us today.”
The Pilgrims’ lone loss came at 3 singles, where Wes Burkholder beat Luke Bumpus in straight 6-2 sets. It was Plymouth’s only loss at the tourney as the perennial champions handed John Glenn a 5-0 loss in the tourney opener Wednesday before beating Triton 5-0 in the semifinals Friday.
“The guys played well today,” said Plymouth head coach Michael Delp. “We talked about just staying focused and playing Triton and Bremen back to back. They always battle you; they’re small community kind of rivals here, so we feel very fortunate. You saw the match is over, and they’re still out there clawing and scratching and doing a great job. It’s a good win by our guys.”
The last time the Lions and Plymouth played back on Sept. 7, the Pilgrims won a 3-2 victory. But Matt Flynn and Joe Knapp earned a reprisal victory 6-1, 6-1 at 2 doubles to clinch the 4-1 team win Saturday. Lane Singleton won a close second-set tiebreaker to put Bremen’s Brad Foster away 6-3, 7-6(5) in straight sets at 2 singles for Plymouth’s final match point of the afternoon.
“We turned one around at 2 doubles,” said Delp. “I thought 2 doubles really played well today. Bremen gave them their first loss of the season last time, and I saw some growth from them today. One doubles has played really well lately, so I was happy with the way they played, and of course (No. 1) Gabe (Vervynckt) has been rock solid all year. I’m very happy with their efforts. Lane maybe struggled a little bit there, but boy, Brad was playing really well and making him earn everything. It was a good match.”
Plymouth moves on to play Warsaw Sectional-champion Columbia City at the Culver Military Academy Regional at 5 p.m. Tuesday with the winner will advancing to play the winner of Tuesday’s other semifinal between CMA Sectional-winner CMA and Peru Sectional champ Wabash in the championship Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The Lions close out the season after a strong showing that included a Northern State Conference Tournament championship and a second-place overall finish in the NSC. The team bids goodbye to No. 1 Briley Bollenbacher as well as 2 doubles partners Austin Huff and T.J. Bayer, a Penn transfer.
“I’m proud of our guys. We far exceeded going in to the season what I thought we were going to do. We did a great job, and that’s a testament to the players we had and what a great job they did,” said Rohde.
“We had two great captains in Briley Bollenbacher and Austin Huff, and we’ll miss them a lot. T.J. Bayer was a huge addition to our team this year that really helped us out and really rounded out our team. Those three guys really led the team to where we got. We’re thrilled with how our season ended with winning the conference tournament and coming in second.”
• PLYMOUTH 4, BREMEN 1
At Bremen Tennis Sectional
Singles: 1. Gabe Vervynckt (P) beat Briley Bollenbacher 6-0, 6-2; 2. Lane Singleton (P) beat Brad Foster 6-3, 7-6(5); 3. Wes Burkholder (B) beat Luke Bumpus 6-2, 6-2
Doubles: 1. Jordan Scheetz-Connor Flynn (P) beat Austin Huff-TJ Bayer 6-1, 6-2; 2. Matt Flynn-Joe Knapp (P) beat Nate Strehler-Joe Zeltwanger 6-1, 6-1