Before this season, the Franklin boys tennis team had never advanced beyond the sectional stage of the state tournament.
If there were any jitters going into Tuesday’s Center Grove Regional semifinal against Franklin Central, though, the Grizzly Cubs sure didn’t show it.
Franklin, the state’s 25th-ranked team, breezed into today’s regional title match with a 4-1 victory against the Flashes. The Grizzly Cubs (16-2) will take on Perry Meridian, which defeated Triton Central in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
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“We’d never been in this situation before, but we tried to approach tonight as just a regular-season dual match,” Franklin coach Rod Snyder said. “When we come back tomorrow, it’s not the finals of the regional. It’s just a regular-season dual match, so we’ve got to get three points somewhere to advance. And that’s all we’re trying to focus on.”
Senior Noah Roberts helped the Grizzly Cubs strike first, cruising to a 6-0, 6-1 win against Matt Southwood at No. 1 singles. He was followed by the No. 1 doubles team of Logan Snyder and Jacob Rockey, which trailed 5-4 in the opening set before taking nine of the final 10 games to close out a 7-5, 6-1 triumph.
“We came out just a little flat at 1 doubles to start the match,” Snyder said, “but we got into the flow of it and started picking up our level, which we had to do against a good team like that, and just continued it on through.”
The Grizzly Cubs sealed the deal when Josiah Rockey and Ethan Klem earned a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 2 doubles, and junior Jonah Rockey added a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles to give Franklin a 4-0 cushion.
Perry Meridian is not expected to go down quite so easily. The Falcons (11-10) lost the regular-season meeting between the two schools, 4-1, but two matches went to a third set.
“It’ll be a very competitive match,” Snyder stated. “We’ll have to come to play.”