Northridge raids Plymouth Senior Night

PLYMOUTH — With Northridge already up three match points in a high-stakes Northern Lakes Conference meet, it might have been tempting to just give up; it may have been hard to focus on the task at hand.
But with the conference tournament coming up Wednesday and every seed a crucial one, Plymouth No. 2 Lane Singleton bore down to salvage a three-set victory 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 for the only win by a Pilgrim upperclassman on a disappointing Senior Night at Centennial Park Monday.
“Lane was battling the disappointment of the team loss and knowing how important this was, so he had a tough situation there,” said Plymouth Head Boys Tennis Coach Michael Delp. “The second set at the end he was winning and he was hanging his head, but anyway, he did a nice job with a tough situation and did what he needed to do and pulled out a victory. For his sake on Senior Night he needed to get that, so he did a great job.”
While Singleton was the sole Plymouth senior to win Monday, the Pilgrims went ahead early when junior Gabe Vervynckt put away Northridge No. 1 Chris Robbins 6-3, 6-3 in the first match to finish up.
“Gabe played really well,” said Delp. “It was a big, strong kid with a good serve, and Gabe was attacking him pretty strongly. He did a nice job of counter-punching. Gabe is starting to come into his own. He’s seen some pretty tough competition here lately.”
“Gabe and Lane are about as tough as they come for us mentally, so it didn’t surprise me,” added the Plymouth boss. “I think sometimes they feel like I might slight them as far as coaching goes, but there’s a lot of times I know what I’m going to get from them mentally so I kind of just let them take care of what they need to take care of. They just do a great job competing night-in and night-out.”
Monday’s loss could bear unwanted consequences for the Pilgrims’ bid to repeat as NLC champions after earning a co-conference title last season. Plymouth finished the league round robin 5-2 with the defeat after a loss to Concord at home last Thursday and will have some ground to make up at the tourney this week.
“With a win tonight we would’ve been tied tonight with either Concord or Warsaw. They play tonight, so one of them will only have one loss, and the other one will have two with us, and I believe (Elkhart) Memorial will also have two, which puts all three of us at a real disadvantage to whoever’s got one loss, because now they’ll be two points ahead of everybody going into the conference tournament,” said Delp. “But the conference is pretty balanced. Last year, I think Warsaw was a 1 seed coming in and maybe finished fourth or fifth, and we’re going to have as many seeds if not more than anybody coming into the tournament. We may not have complete control of our destiny now, but we will hopefully be as hungry as we’ve been in awhile going into that tournament. I’m never going to say a loss is a good thing, but hopefully some guys are a little motivated after tonight.”
After the meet, Plymouth honored its four seniors in Singleton, No. 1 doubles partners Connor Flynn and Jordan Scheetz, and No. 3 singles player Luke Bumpus.
“Our seniors, three of them picked up a racket either two years ago or three years ago,” said Delp. “Jordan and Lane never touched a racket until after their freshman year going into their sophomore season. Luke picked one up his freshman year, and Connor has played for quite awhile. They won part of a conference title last year, they have a great chance to do it again this year.
“This one just stings, and it’s going to be a tough one to do Senior Night now after it, but we’ll do it and we’ll grow from it. With adversity comes opportunity, as I like to say. We’ll use it.”
At Plymouth
Singles: 1. Gabe Vervynckt (P) beat Chris Robbins 6-3, 6-3; 2. Lane Singleton (P) beat A.J. Thielking 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3; 3. Josh Garfein (NR) beat Luke Bumpus 6-0, 6-2
Doubles: 1. Alex Radelich-Andrew Gingerich (NR) beat Connor Flynn-Jordan Scheetz 6-3, 7-6(8-6); 2. Connor Cameron-Bryan Slabach (NR) beat Joe Knapp-Matt Flynn 6-2, 6-4.
Record: Plymouth 11-3 (5-2 NLC)