MERRILLVILLE | A small lineup change made a big difference for River Forest on Wednesday night as the Ingots swept the singles matches to beat Hobart 3-2 and advance at the Merrillville Sectional.
“Hobart is a team that has always played us pretty tough. When we played them earlier in the year, we lost 4-1,” River Forest coach Beau Bruemmer said. “However, we have a different lineup — we have our foreign exchange student, Jakob Monthei. He wasn’t eligible at the beginning of the season.”
Monthei played at No. 2 singles for the Ingots and earned a quick 6-1, 6-0 victory.
“Coming in, we were a little more optimistic this time,” Bruemmer said. “We thought we had a fair shot at beating them.”
Monthei’s singles cohorts helped the German exchange student lead River Forest to victory. At No. 3 singles, Ivan Miranda picked up a 6-1, 6-2 win. Ryan Fleming earned a hard-fought 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 1 singles.
“Our ability to persevere — when we got down, we were able to battle back,” Bruemmer said. “Our inability this year has been to close out match, but we did that (Wednesday night). We kept our foot on the gas pedal.”
The Ingots will face sectional favorite Andrean on Thursday night. The winner of that match will play in the championship against the winner of the Merrillville vs. Lake Station match.
“Something we stressed at the beginning of the year was ‘play smart, not hard,’” Bruemmer said. “Smart tennis wins matches, so we’re really hoping to come out against Andrean and apply what we did (Wednesday night).”
Hobart won both doubles matches. Marc Lind and Sharpe Marshall took the No. 1 doubles match 6-1, 6-2 while Jake Mummey and Robert Wisnewski outlasted the competition in a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) win at No. 2 doubles.