CULVER — It was deja vu all over again for Culver Military Academies Eagles.
Or is it deja, deja vu?
CMA’s championship tennis match with Warsaw echoed an earlier defeat of Warsaw at the start of the season, and the No. 14-ranked Eagles won their third straight regional title at their home tournament, 4-1 against the Tigers at the Gable Tennis Complex Thursday in a championship match rescheduled from Wednesday due to rain.
“I’m very proud of our boys for defending the title on their home courts,” said CMA boys tennis coach Alan Loehr. “They’re playing better every night, I think, and really understanding each other as a team and coming together nicely for this tournament run.”
CMA won match points on the first four courts as Quinlan Smith beat Kyle Wettschurak, 6-1, 6-2 at 1 singles, Sam Concannon put away Evan Miller, 6-3, 6-4 at the 2 spot, Eric Maudhuit won 6-1, 6-3 over Alek Jansen at 3 singles, and twins Alec and Austin Proeh dispatched A.J. Herendeen and Sam Rice 6-0, 6-3 at 1 doubles.
About the only real difference from the Eagles’ regular-season match versus Warsaw back in August was Concannon’s match with Miller, as the Warsaw junior when he jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but the Eagles freshman put on the brakes with five straight games for the straight-set victory.
“There was a lot of deja vu between this match and looking back on August 29 in terms of the level of play and the scores and the way those played out,” said Loehr. “I would say that Warsaw certainly brought more firepower today than they did a month ago, and there was a stretch there for about 15 minutes where they could have turned the tide, particularly at 2 singles and maybe have extended the match and made some things interesting, but we were able to shut down the momentum and close out the match very quickly after that.”
Also Thursday, Belgian North Judson foreign exchange student Thomas Simon beat Columbia City’s Derek Hinen in three sets 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 to remain unbeaten on the year. Simon will play Plymouth No. 1 Gabe Vervycnkt — after the Pilgrim senior earned his team its lone match point against CMA Tuesday to remain alive in individual tournament play — to determine who will advance to the LaPorte Regional Saturday, Oct. 13.
Triton seniors Pete Kauffman and Jeff Ross will also advance to LaPorte in the state doubles tournament after the duo claimed a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Maconaquah’s Chris Ayers and Adam Harts Tuesday and Warsaw was eliminated in both the team and doubles tourney at Thursday’s championship.
CMA earned its regional championship berth following up a pair of sectional wins over Knox and North Judson Sept. 26-27 for the program’s ninth straight sectional title on its home courts with a 4-1 win over Plymouth in the opening round of regional play.
Thursday’s title match was the second for Culver Military seniors Smith and Maudhuit, back from the Eagles’ 2011 squad, and their senior leadership, along with 2 doubles partners Arturo Lizarraga and Jorge Segura, have been critical in the team’s three-peat regional run this year, says Loehr.
“Our senior leadership and maturity has taken us to another level. That’s been perhaps the most pleasant part of this tournament run. They’ve made a good team very good, and they’ve set just the right tone that we need,” he said.
CMA is hoping history will repeat itself again Saturday, when the Eagles open a four-team semistate at Gable Complex with Valparaiso, which CMA handed a 4-1 decision in regular-season play earlier this year.
“We did beat Valparaiso 4-1 earlier in the season, but they’re very, very tough at 1 and 2 singles. To think that we could get a point out of there is going to be a challenge, and I think it’s setting up to be... a very close, well-played match,” said Loehr.
No. 1 Carmel will play No. 9 Munster in the other semifinal at the semistate.
• CULVER TENNIS REGIONAL
At Gable Tennis Complex
• CULVER MILITARY 4, WARSAW 1
Singles: 1. Quinlan Smith (CMA) beat Kyle Wettschurack, 6-1, 6-2; 2. Sam Concannon (CMA) beat Evan Miller, 6-3, 6-4; 3. Eric Maudhuit (CMA) beat Alek Jansen, 6-1, 6-3.
Doubles: 1. Alec Proeh-Austin Proeh (CMA) beat A.J. Herendeen-Sam Rice, 6-0, 6-3; 2. Will Petro-Connor Singrey (W) beat Arturo Lizarraga-Jorge Segura, 6-2, 6-4.
Records: CMA 18-2, Warsaw 13-3.
Thomas Simon (North Judson) beat Derek Hinen (Columbia City), 6-1, 5-7, 6-1.