It wasn't long after clinching the team match for No. 3 Canterbury that senior William Wright had another team on his mind. He was already looking toward a potential quarterfinal matchup against No. 4 North Central just moments after the Cavaliers defeated No. 23 Carroll 4-1 in the boys tennis regional Wednesday night.
“That's revenge for last year,” Wright said about losing to North Central in the state tournament last year. “It's going to be the biggest match, probably of my life, and I don't know, it's going to be awesome. I can't wait for it to get to that point.”
Canterbury earned the right to look ahead after taking early leads in four matches against the Chargers. It went ahead 3-0 or 4-1 in the first set in four matches en route to wins at the No. 2 and 3 singles and both doubles positions.
“It was really important to come out and play strong from the beginning,” said Canterbury head coach Jerry Gerig. “We had some bad points early against Bishop Dwenger yesterday, so that was something I said to them today, to play well from the start.”
Carroll's lone point came at No. 1 singles, where Carroll's Ross Marano and Canterbury's Clay Hoffacker fought against the wind and each other. Marano held off set points and eventually won the match 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5). It was the second time the two have played this season and all four sets they played went to a tiebreaker.
As Marano and Hoffacker began their second set, the team match was over, though. Canterbury was ahead 2-0 in the team match when the No. 1 doubles position started to have some intrigue. Canterbury was up 6-2, 4-1, but Carroll brought it back to 4-3. Then Wright and partner Chris Yahanda won a long deuce game and eventually clinched the third and decisive point for Canterbury.
“(Carroll's) Cody (Chase) had an amazing first service game (in the second set), he had like three aces or something like that, so he was on fire,” Wright said. “They both came out and we just knew had to get the returns in and it had to be solid, nothing fancy. Just keep it going and then it did clinch it.”
Helping boost the Cavaliers has been the return of Hoffacker and senior Patrick Downs from injury. Downs was in line to play No. 1 singles for the Cavaliers this season, but a back injury has pushed him to No. 2 doubles with sophomore Chad Schouweiler.
“It makes the bottom of our lineup that much stronger,” Gerig said. “(Tom) Filus has been great for us at No. 3 singles, so we feel we haven't lost much in singles, but just made our doubles better.”
Now Canterbury looks toward semistate where it will play either Fairfield or Angola. But that didn't stop both Gerig and Wright from mentioning the possibility of playing North Central again.
"I've preached one match at a time all year, but I think the guys would really like to play them again,” Gerig said. “They beat us last year, but we feel we've gotten better as a team since then.”