DOVER — All eyes were on the two doubles courts Thursday evening at Western Boone.
The host Stars were battling rival Lebanon, with the winner being in the drivers seat and the front-runner to win the Sagamore Conference title.
The Tigers won two of the three singles matches, so the Stars would have to win the third sets at both doubles matches to win the match.
“Both those doubles matches were incredible,” Western Boone head coach Dustin Cunningham said. “I said it last year when we lost a close match, this is what you want. Conference match, big rival, both teams undefeated on the year, and you couldn’t ask much more from either team. There was some really good tennis being played out there.”
It was the first loss of the season for Lebanon, who also dropped to 1-1 in the conference.
Head coach Joe LePage said the Stars just wanted it more on Thursday.
“WeBo made the plays they needed to,” LePage said. “I believe they played with more heart in this match and more effort. Those are things that shouldn’t have to be coached and stressed as much in a match like tonight, but credit to Western Boone, they made the plays when they counted.”
Thursday’s win was sweet redemption for Lee and Smith, who found themselves in a similar must win situation against Lebanon in the third set last year, but couldn’t come out on top.
Cunningham said both of the seniors played with a lot of maturity to get the win.
It was also a gut check win for Fields and Landers.
After winning the first set, Ferrell and Hood dominated the second set.
The teams remained on serve until 3-3 in the third, then the Stars took control.
“I’ll give credit to my assistant coach Dylan Hamerin, he brought them out before the match and worked with them for a solid half hour, just getting them to move and cover each other,” Cunningham said. “Those two carried over that work before the match. It was do-or-die for them, and they got the job done.”
LePage gave the WeBo doubles teams credit after the match, but admitted he was a little surprised that his senior-laden doubles teams weren’t able to pull off either third set.
“It is a little exasperating, and I’m at a loss for words to be honest,” LePage said. “Of all the seniors on our team that I thought would get up for this match, it would be our doubles. They are competitive in practice, they have a swagger about them and they are ready to meet a challenge. I was gobsmacked by the lack of focus and fire tonight and I don’t know what happened.”
At No. 1 singles Michael Wright defeated Keith Dobbs 6-1, 6-3.