BOURBON — With three match points already in the bank, Triton head coach Allen Peckham decided to play it safe.
Jackson Downing and Wil Rettinger had already secured their three-set victory over Bremen’s Joe Zeltwanger and Nate Strehler 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 at 2 doubles, and with Austin Kanarr ailing with a leg injury and a busy stretch of conference matches on the horizon, Peckham called the No. 1 doubles match.
The forfeit had no affect on the outcome of the team result, however, as Downing’s and Rettinger’s victory sewed up a 3-2 NSC win for Triton over visiting Bremen Monday in Bourbon.
“There was an unfortunate accident with Kanarr hitting his knee on the fence; he put a nice little cut on it,” said Peckham. “My 1 doubles team has been playing really awesome this year. It’s sad to see that one end like it did, but it’s one of those things where you have to stop it and be smart and look out for your injury.”
Bremen’s T.J. Bayer and Austin Huff battled back from a 6-4 loss in the opening set of 1 doubles play with a 6-4 win in the second set against Kanarr and Josh Shafer. The Lions tandem was leading 4-1 in the deciding set when Peckham decided to call it, but the forfeit came too little, too late for the visitors.
Triton’s Jeff Ross beat Briley Bollenbacher 6-3, 6-2 at 1 singles, and Pete Kauffman topped Bremen’s Brad Foster 6-4, 6-1 at the 2 singles position. Wes Burkholder claimed a victory in two 6-2 sets over Lucas Shafer on the 3 singles court, and Bayer’s and Huff’s win at 1 doubles became academic after Downing and Rettinger’s split-set victory at the 2 doubles position.
“We knew that they were favored coming into it — we lost to Knox, they beat Knox — so we knew we’d be a little bit of an underdog coming into it, but we also knew it could go either way,” said Bremen head coach Andrew Rohde. “We knew that the ball could bounce either way on any given day, and it went their way. They were a better team today.”
Monday’s match made Triton the clear front-runner for the NSC round robin. The Trojans had already bested Knox last Wednesday after the Redskins’ conference win over Bremen Tuesday, and Triton’s victory over Bremen left it the last undefeated team in the league with back-to-back NSC matches with New Prairie and Jimtown scheduled for tonight and Wednesday as well as another conference contest with John Glenn next Tuesday leading up to the NSC tourney next Thursday, Sept. 22.
“I’m very proud of the guys tonight,” said Peckham. “Bremen I knew wasn’t going to be easy.
“One thing good about tonight is that it eliminates Bremen a little bit more out of the title race because if somehow Bremen would’ve won it would’ve been a three-way tie going into the tourney. So it basically throws them out and puts us in the driver’s seat with Knox still on our heels a little bit.”
• TRITON 3, BREMEN 2
Singles: 1. Jeff Ross (T) beat Briley Bollenbacher, 6-3, 6-2; 2. Pete Kauffman (T) beat Brad Foster, 6-4, 6-1; 3. Wes Burkholder (B) beat Lucas Shafer, 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles: 1. T.J. Bayer-Austin Huff (B) beat Josh Shafer-Austin Kanarr forfeit; 2. Jackson Downing-Will Rettinger (T) beat Joe Zeltwanger-Nate Strehler, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2