Trojans open NSC with win vs Knox

BOURBON — Triton’s boys tennis team opened its 2012 Northern State Conference schedule the same way it finished up its conference slate last year — with a narrow win over Knox.
Last year, a three-set win over Knox on the 2 doubles court at the NSC Tournament propelled the Trojans to a program-first conference title. On Wednesday, Triton sophomore Jared Fisher battled back from a 6-4 loss to Knox’s Hunter Gilbert with 6-0 and 6-4 wins at 3 singles to lift the home team over the Redskins in the Trojans’ NSC opener at home.
“We had to come from behind and beat them last year, and we did it again this year,” said Triton head tennis coach Allen Peckham. “(Fisher) battled really well. It’s only the second varsity match that he’s played this year. Jared really stuck it in. I told him just keep rally, keep rally. I could tell the other guy was just starting to tire. It’s a great win to get this tonight. I knew this would be a tough match; they always come with a tough team.”
“We’re pretty much inventing any way possible to lose to Triton,” said Knox head coach Mark Krom. “Last year we were up 5-2 in a match that would have given us the conference tournament. I can’t sit here and chalkboard any more ways than what we do to lose to them. That’s pretty frustrating, but tonight we deserved to lose the way we played to them. We didn’t play well enough tonight. We have the capability, but we didn’t deserve it.”
Initially it looked like Knox would win the day as the Redskins jumped out to an early 2-1 advantage in match points at the home of the Trojans Wednesday.
Redskins No. 1 Davey Johnston handed Triton’s Jeff Ross a pair of 6-2 defeats, and Curtis Scherer and Damon Richie beat Darren Harrell and Jake Oldham in straight sets at 2 doubles following Pete Kauffman’s and Lucas Shafer’s 8-6 tiebreaker win over Joe Clabough and Cody Fletcher on the 1 doubles court for Triton’s first match point.
But Dean Howdeshell 7-2 win over Knox’s Jordan Anderson in a second-set tiebreaker at 2 singles evened the match at 2-all and set the stage for Fisher’s meet-clenching heroics.
“They’re just scary. Even when I saw the lineup I said ‘Geez, I don’t know how we’re going to get our three points tonight,” said Peckham. “It was a good job by all, and I’m very happy and pleased with everything.”
A rain-out of Triton’s season-opener against Rochester last week left Krom in the dark about the Trojans’ 2012 lineup. The Knox skipper says he likely would have switched up his own lineup to give him the best chances against Triton Wednesday, although he admits it might not have given his team the edge it needed.
“If they wouldn’t have gotten rained out last week I would have seen their lineup,” said Krom. “I expected their lineup to be one way and it kind of threw me off because I didn’t know what to expect. If I would have had that knowledge ahead of time I would have done something different. Whether that’s the difference in the match, I can’t say.”
Triton is off to a 1-1 overall and 1-0 conference start after a competitive 3-2 loss at Mishawaka Marian Tuesday night. The team returns just three varsity players from last year’s lineup but has gotten solid play from its newcomers, including Fisher and Howdeshell, at the start of the 2012 season.
“When I did my lineup, the only one that was in his original spot was Jeff so I didn’t know how this lineup was going to work,” Peckham said. “I know I could probably have made my singles a little more solid, but I felt this was my best balanced team I could put out there. It just depends on match-ups on certain nights how we’re going to do. Tonight it worked out very well for us.”
Knox slips to 2-1 overall with a 1-1 conference mark, meanwhile. With Jimtown the NSC favorites this season, the Redskins’ league prospects took a serious hit with Wednesday’s loss to Triton.
“Everybody knows that Jimtown is the one that everybody’s got to be shooting for, and so you’ve basically got to go into the match with them undefeated,” Krom said. “Right now it’s throw caution to the wind and do what you have to do — shuffle lineups, do anything you can to win any of those matches and try to steal one from Jimtown somehow, and that’s going to be tough for anyone.”
At Bourbon
SINGLES: 1. Davey Johnson (K) beat Jeff Ross, 6-2, 6-2; 2. Dean Howdeshell (T) beat Jordan Anderson, 6-4, 7-6(2); 3. Jared Fisher (T) beat Hunter Gilbert, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.
DOUBLES: 1. Pete Kauffman-Lucas Shafer (T) beat Joe Clabough-Cody Fletcher, 6-2, 7-6(6); 2. Curtis Scherer-Damon Richie (K) beat Darren Harrell-Jake Oldham, 6-4, 6-3.
Records: Triton 1-1 (1-0 NSC), Knox 2-1 (1-1)
JV score: Triton 5, Knox 1.