MUNSTER | Highland coach Adam Baez got his 100th win as boys tennis coach from an unlikely source Tuesday night.
Junior Jarhett Adams, playing his first year on varsity, brought home the third point to propel the Trojans into the regional finals. His three-set win over Crown Point's Boris Pavlovski gave Highland a tough 3-2 win in the semifinal round.
The Trojans will face reigning champion Munster, who defeated Bishop Noll 5-0.
"Last year Jarhett had a hard time playing JV," Baez said. "He was smaller and needed some offseason conditioning. He has improved 1,000 percent this year, and today was a great example of that."
The Bulldogs (13-8) won at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, while Highland (14-5) took both doubles matches. Adams took the first set 6-2, dropped the middle one 3-6, then came back 6-3 in the third.
"I'm glad I was able to get a point for the seniors," Adams said. "They worked hard all year, and I didn't want to let them down."
The Mustangs (17-0), who have won 17 of the last 18 regionals, won in straight sets across the board over the Warriors (10-4).
"We had a good mind-set out there today," Munster coach Steve Lopez said afterward. "We were looking to be consistent today, and I liked what I saw. At this point in the season, the mental aspect of the game is very important, and I was glad to see our heads in the game."
Sophomore Michael Kitchell moved to No. 3 singles for Munster three weeks ago. He delivered the third point for the Mustangs with a 6-0, 6-0 win.
"I was a little nervous at first, but once I started playing it was another tennis match," he said about his first regional match. "I have been playing well since they moved me to singles. A big win like today helps my confidence."
Munster and Highland will meet at 4:30 p.m. today for the regional championship.
In the individual tournament, Kankakee Valley's Luke Sanderson remained undefeated on the year when he beat Clark's Luis Huro 6-0, 6-1. Calumet's Jeff Stooksbury defeated Griffith's Garrett Litke 6-3, 6-2. Sanderson will play Stooksbury Wednesday afternoon.
Crown Point's Daniel Smith stayed alive in the individual tournament when he beat Highland's Danny Morgan 6-2, 6-1. He will play the winner of the Stooksbury-Sanderson match on Thursday at Munster.