Greenwood had an easier than expected time beating county rival Franklin 4-1 in the opening round of the IHSAA boys tennis sectional at Center Grove on Tuesday.

The two schools have battled several times this season, with many of the individual matches going the distance. And although all of Tuesday’s matches were close, Greenwood won all of four of its encounters in straight sets against the defending sectional and regional champs.

“I’m not going to lie; (winning in straight sets) kind of surprised me,” Greenwood coach Jeremy Runge said. “We knew coming in that it was going to be a battle. They’ve always been a tough team. I was hoping it was going to go straight sets, obviously, but I was more worried about doubles. I thought it would come down to the doubles.”

The Woodmen face Center Grove in a semifinal match today. Whiteland plays Indian Creek in the other semifinal.

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Greenwood’s two doubles teams each claimed victory, the difference in the match.

The No. 1 tandem of Ben Sobieray and Jacob Rothaar pulled away in the second set to knock off Franklin’s Corbin Burton and Andy Bennett 6-4, 6-1, while the Woodmen’s freshman duo of Charlie Brooks and Nick Belovic outlasted Russell Chain and Ethan Klem 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2.

Greenwood also claimed wins in the top two singles matches. Jacob Gray beat Jonah Rockey 6-4, 6-2 in a No. 1 singles match that saw every point contested. Ethan Gray had an easier time at No. 2 singles, beating Logan Snyder 6-2, 6-3.

Franklin’s lone win came at No. 3 singles, where Josiah Rockey knocked off Grant Bryant 6-4, 6-4.

Although Franklin coach Rod Snyder was disappointed with the loss, he was pleased with the way his team battled against a strong and familiar opponent.

“We battled really well today. I was pleased with our effort,” Snyder said. “We focused a lot better than we did in the conference tournament against a couple of those same people. We gave a very, very strong effort. We just didn’t have the goods today.”

Snyder announced his retirement as coach after the match, saying that after 15 years that it was time to move on. But he was proud of what the Grizzly Cubs were able to accomplish under his watch.

“I think it’s time for the program to have a new voice and guide it a little further than I was able to do,” Snyder said. “We had a fantastic 2016 season with the first-ever sectional and regional win, we won the county for the first time in 39 years, and this year we had a great dual-match record as well. … Today we fought, but only one team gets to end the season with a win.”