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Superior Spartans

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Connersville’s Sebastian Burch offers up a serve in a No. 1 doubles match against South Dearborn’s Ethan Fogle and Lane Cutter on Tuesday night. Burch and teammate Gage Brown cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win in the match, helping the Spartans earn a 5-0 win over their Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference rivals.
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No. 2 doubles player Dylan Bennington lunges for a return, Tuesday evening against visiting Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference foe South Dearborn. Bennington and the Spartans improved to 5-2 on the season with a victory over the visiting Knights.
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Dustin McCarrell awaits a serve from South Dearborn’s Luke Brown and Tristan Daily in a No. 2 doubles match, Tuesday evening on the Connersville High School tennis courts. McCarrell and teammate Dylan Bennington (in background) won the match 6-4, 6-0.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

The South Dearborn High School tennis team arrived at Connersville on Tuesday with seven players spilling off the bus to challenge the Spartan boys.

Seven was just enough players to fill the five varsity matches that the two teams were scheduled to play at Spartan Court.

So, while the numbers for the Knights were sufficient, the level of play wasn’t on par with Connersville’s, as the hosts cruised to a 5-0 decision.

“South Dearborn has five or six guys on their team that are brand new to tennis, so they’re just really learning the game at this point,” Connersville head coach Chris Bloom said. “That said, I thought we played some consistent matches, pretty much all the way around.”

In singles play, Connersville pitched 6-0, 6-0 shut outs through all three matches, Gavin Parsley beating Brayden Tanner at No. 1, Jonah Graham knocking off Preston Sullivan at No. 2, and singles newcomer Seth Spurlock blanking Grant McLane at No. 3.

The No. 1 doubles team of Sebastian Burch and Gage Brown followed the example set by their singles teammates, taking down Ethan Fogle and Lane Cutter in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.

South Dearborn’s No. 2 doubles tandem of Luke Brown and Tristan Daily prevented the Spartans from making it a true shut out, as they won four games in the first set, albeit falling by a 6-4 score. In the second set, Dylan Bennington and Dustin McCarrell eased to a 6-0 decision.

“That was our closest match of the night, and after falling behind 4-3 in the first, I thought Dylan and Dustin did a great job closing that set, winning three straight games,” Bloom said. “Then, in the second set, they took control and won that one 6-0.”

Focus and composure were the buzzwords thrown around most often, following the win over an opponent who was trumped from the opening serve by CHS’ experience.

“One of the things for us tonight was to maintain our focus on what it was we were trying to accomplish,” Bloom said. “We had to take that attitude into each of our matches tonight.

“It was good to see that we were able to maintain our composure and focus throughout the match tonight, despite the fact that we were playing a different style of tennis out there.”

A pre-game pep talk for the team might have had something to do with Bloom’s charges having such laser focus throughout the evening.

“I’d say that there are many things that can help us maintain focus,” Bloom said, when asked about the talk. “We need to make sure that we are always concentrating on what our main goal is, and that is working toward playing our best tennis at the end of the season, so that we can do well in the conference tournament and throughout the postseason.”

The CHS mentor admitted that, on that front, the team is still a work in progress.

“I think they are all excited when it comes time to compete, but I always like to give them things to think about when they’re not facing an opponent on the other side of the net,” he said. “I want them to understand the importance of performing and doing their best, no matter what they are doing on the tennis court.”

Spurlock’s move to singles was a straight switch, as former No. 3 player Brown moved into his spot at No. 1 doubles.

Bloom closed by saying he was pleased with how both responded to their new surroundings. 

“Seth played a new spot tonight, three singles, and Gage played at one doubles, so those were new spots for them,” he said. “I thought they both did very well.

“We’re still tinkering with the line-up a little bit, trying to find out what is best for both the team and the players. We want to send them out there each night with the opportunity to prove themselves, so that we can be at our best at the end of the year.”

CONNERSVILLE 5, SOUTH DEARBORN 0

(at Connersville High School)

Singles

No. 1 — Gavin Parsley (C) defeated Brayden Tanner (SD) 6-0, 6-0

No. 2 — Jonah Graham (C) defeated Preston Sullivan (SD) 6-0, 6-0

No. 3 — Seth Spurlock (C) defeated Grant McLane (SD) 6-0, 6-0

Doubles

No. 1 — Sebastian Burch and Gage Brown (C) defeated Ethan Fogle and Lane Cutter (SD) 6-0, 6-0

No. 2 — Dylan Bennington and Dustin McCarrell (C) defeated Luke Brown and Tristan Daily (SD) 6-4, 6-0