MUNSTER | You might be able to pin a tail on a donkey, but never a Mustang.
That is, as long as Nathan Kondamuri is playing tennis at Munster.
“Coach (Steve Lopez) always tells us we condition more than any team out there,” said Kondamuri, a three-year varsity starter and No. 2 singles player. “I definitely think that helps. The kids in this program are always focused, always playing hard, always trying to be the best.
“We just try to play to the best of our ability – and good things have been happening.”
What is happening is state-ranked No. 9 Munster continues to pile up the hardware. After winning the program’s 32nd straight sectional title last week – a state record, mind you – the Times top-ranked Mustangs moved toward an eighth straight regional title (they already own a state-best 29 regional titles) with a 5-0 victory over Morton in the semifinals of Tuesday’s Munster Regional. Crown Point beat Andrean 5-0 in the other bracket to set up tonight’s showdown for a berth in Saturday’s Culver Academies Semistate.
“The biggest thing about these guys is they don’t want to be 25, 26, 27 or 28 on the (state tennis) ladder, they want to be a Top 10 or a Top seven team – they want their name on the boards and playing under the lights,” Lopez said. “Our sign says, ‘Pride of Region Tennis,’ and that’s an honor to carry that badge. And that’s what keeps them hungry.”
Munster (17-2) beat Crown Point (19-3) 4-1 on the Monday before the sectional. The 'Stangs are definitely the favorite, with five seniors in their lineup, but the Bulldogs plan on showing up.
“We’re exciting going into it,” CP assistant coach Scott Garrison said. “The team is ready.”
Munster didn’t drop a game against Morton (11-4) with senior No. 1 singles player Jack Heiniger taking less than 25 minutes to win his match, just minutes before Kondamuri (No. 2) and junior Colin Richter (No. 3) followed suit. At doubles, the Mustangs got 6-0, 6-0 victories from Michael Kitchell and Kelan Harish at No. 1 and Aaron Handler and Arlo Detmer followed suit at No. 2.
Crown Point’s No. 1 doubles team of Carson Hoogewerf and Dominic Peretin and its No. 2 doubles tandem of Chris Dietrich and Brenden Ray won their matches 6-0, 6-0.