MUNSTER — They grow up fast, do they?
Such was the case for the Munster boy's tennis team, a squad that was hit hard by graduation coming into this season to the point that they had only one senior on the roster this year.
A win against Lake Central in today's Munster Regional finals will help the young Mustangs achieve what 33 previous Munster teams have done: win a regional title.
The Mustangs won their regional semifinal match, beating Merrillville 5-0. while the Indians, a team lacking in experience themselves, beat Bishop Noll 5-0.
"Bishop Noll was very gritty and our singles players did a nice job of taking care of business early," Lake Central coach Ralph Holden said. "Overall, I was happy with the way we played."
Steven Tulsiak and Mathew Matakovic were straight-set winners in singles competition, while the Indians doubles teams, a spot of concern coming into this season with all four Lake Central doubles players from last year all graduated, also won. The No. 2 team Ammaar Mohammed and Griffen Swartzentruber won 6-0, 6-0.
"Steven and Mathew have been playing really well," said Holden, whose Indians are going for their first-ever regional title. "Since the tournament began, Mathew has only one loss while Steven is undefeated."
As for the Mustangs, it was business as usual for a team that came into the postseason on a hot streak, beating eighth-ranked Brownsburg and Crown Point before winning their sectional last week.
"I think that momentum has carried on," Munster coach Patrick Spohr said. "Not only are our kids enjoying playing at this level, but they are competing at a higher level. It says a lot that we're having this kind of success with only one senior on the team."
The Mustangs wins ranged from three 6-0, 6-0 decisions, including one by the only senior on the team, Jonathan Harris over Jonathan Lonthan in No. 3 singles, to the flat-out, entertaining with No. 1 singles player Joe Webster outlasting the talented Justin Jackson 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
"Joe was down triple match point, so his back was against the wall. One more point and the match was over," Spohr said. "He rallied back and won. That takes guts."