The Eagles improved to 3-1 at the varsity level by showing strong mental toughness on Saturday during a grueling day that included nearly six hours of travel and over six hours of tennis.
Delta beat Shelbyville 5-0 in the morning match at Mt. Vernon courts, highlighted by a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) victory at No. 2 singles by junior Ben Bamidele. The match took 3 hours, 45 minutes. Traling 4-5 in the third set and with his opponent serving for the match, Ben hung tough through an incredible game that lasted almost 30 minutes. He trailed 40-0 in the game and faced three match points, but didn’t give up. He eventually withstood an amazing NINE match points in the game before finally breaking his opponent and tying the set at 5-5. Bamidele went on to prevail in a third-set tiebreaker in the longest boys’ individual high school match that Coach Cleland can ever remember being a part of.
Delta then loaded the buses and drove more than two hours north to Culver Military Academy to face the 22nd-ranked CMA Eagles at their amazing Gable Tennis Center. Delta brought out a new lineup for the match and gained a 4-1 victory.
Senior Jason Wegener won 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles over Ian Smith, a senior who is back at the top of the lineup for CMA for the second straight year.
Junior Tannon Dishman moved to No. 2 singles and defeated Nico Warnholtz, a returning varsity player from Mexico. Tannon won 7-5, 6-2.
Bamidele bumped down to No. 3 singles and despite his fatigue from the earlier marathon match, he won 6-3, 6-4 over Jordan Craig of Crystal Lake, Ill.
At No. 1 doubles, junior Joel Ashman and freshman Michael Curtis teamed together for the first time. They faced a big assignment as senior Jose Santiago Peraza anchored the one doubles team for CMA along with senior Patrick Wilson on Miami, Fla. Peraza went 16-0 at No. 1 doubles last season and made All-State Doubles Second Team. But Ashman and Curtis dominated the early part of the match and hung on for a big 6-0, 7-5 victory.
At No. 2 doubles, sophomore Mason Knight and freshman Tanner Southerland played together for the first time. They also faced a tough challenge as CMA countered with two returning varsity players, Henry Bilicic of Chicago and Vincent Huang of China. The CMA boys won 1-6, 4-6.
Overall it was a great win for our guys as CMA returned five varsity starters from their semi-state team of a year ago.
In junior varsity play, Delta topped Shelbyville 8-0 and lost to Culver 3-8. Junior Ben Slavin and sophomore Jaigen Glaze were winners in both matches, as were freshmen Josef Zacek and Riley Windsor. Sophomore Cade Brown went 2-1 on the day in his singles matches.
After the CMA match ended, the team members, parents, and other family members ate pizza and ice cream by Lake Maxinkuckee, the second-largest natural lake in Indiana.
This week, the varsity (3-1) and JV (4-1) will host Greenfield-Central at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday in a conference match. Then, on Saturday, the Eagles travel to the Fort Wayne Carroll Invitational, a tournament that will include seven state-ranked teams.