CULVER - Marshall County supremacy - and a spot in the high school boys tennis regional finals - was on the line Tuesday afternoon as Culver Academy and Bremen met up at the Gable Tennis Complex.
Led by a singles sweep and a big turnaround win at No. 2 doubles, it was the Eagles coming away with the 4-1 win to advance to today’s final against Peru.
Senior Nick Warnholtz used a big serve and strong groundstrokes to get the Academy on the board first with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles. Not long after, senior Topher Bower secured the second team point with a straight set win at No. 3 singles. Paul Wilson made it a clean singles slate by winning at the 2 spot. The junior lost the first game then won nine straight. His opponent, Carson Miller, gutted it out after suffering a pulled muscle midway through the second set, but Wilson eventually won, 6-1, 6-2.
“I think CMA is the best team of the four,” said Bremen head coach Kevin Hickman. “They’ve got some experienced senior singles players and that showed today. We knew that would be their strength. It was a great experience for us to get down here.”
The match-clinching point was a bit of a surprise. Bremen’s Brett Yelaska and Mariano DeLeon looked fantastic, taking the first set 6-1. The Academy’s Cross Sherman and Nate Posner regrouped though, and took the second set by the same 6-1 score, then matched that with a 6-1 third set win as well.
“They are very capable when they turn up their intensity meter, but to get them to do that has been a challenge sometimes,” said Culver Academy head coach Alan Loehr. “They played textbook doubles the last two sets. I’m very proud of their performance.
“Topher has had a good last half of the season. He has improved immensely. He has been a solid point for us. I’m proud of his intensity too.”
The lone bright spot for Bremen came at No. 1 doubles where Shay Kyser and Mason Porter pulled off the rare double bagel and will advance as individuals.
“You can never predict that score,” said Hickman. “They’ve been solid all year, especially the second half. Hopefully, they’ll go on for a while. ”
Today’s regional final will start at 5 p.m. Culver Academy defeated Peru, 3-2, during the regular season. The regional champion plays the Munster Regional winner (most likely No. 8 Munster) at semistate this Saturday and will be held at the Gable Tennis Complex.
“We played them with a different lineup and it was (a month ago), so you know how that can be,” said Loehr of today’s match-up. “I don’t know if we are markedly better or different now. I just hope we are not cursed by the 3-2 reversal. That’s my concern. I expect a tight match.”
• CULVER ACADEMY 4, BREMEN 1
At Culver (Regional semifinal)
SINGLES: 1. Niko Warnholtz (CA) def. Mark Bahr 6-1, 6-1; 2. Paul Wilson (CA) def. Carson Miller 6-2, 6-1; 3. Topher Bower (CA) def. Dawson Hickman 6-3, 6-1;
DOUBLES: 1. Shay Kyser/Mason Porter (B) def. AJ Davidson/Wes Henthorn 6-0, 6-0; 2. def. Cross Sherman/Nate Posner (CA) def. Brett Yelaska/Mariano DeLeon 1-6, 6-1, 6-1
Records: Bremen 19-4 (final), Culver Academy 11-7