It was a wild and crazy day for Delta Tennis in the annual Fort Wayne Carroll Invitational on a 90-degree Saturday of Labor Day Weekend.
Among the unpredictable happenings:
Senior Will Kile picked up his first career varsity victory.
Junior Kam Swoboda gained his first career varsity victory.
Senior Jake Bilby, always a doubles player throughout his entire career, played varsity singles in the final round and pulled out a crucial victory.
Sophomore Aaron Elliott and freshman Tyce Dishman teamed up in doubles for the first time this season and won the decisive match in the final round in a third-set tiebreaker.
On the day, the Eagles took 13 players to the tournament and 11 got to play at least one varsity match, with 9 of those 11 winning at least one varsity match.
Here’s how it all happened.
The day began with unranked Delta entering as a big underdog to 4th-ranked Homestead. But the Eagles stepped up big and flirted with a major upset as two positions went to third-set tiebreakers and another position was a very competitive match, also. In the end, the Spartans walked away with a deceiving 5-0 victory. Homestead went on to win the tourney with a 5-0 victory over 24th-ranked Hamilton Southeastern and a 4-1 victory over 7th-ranked Cathedral.
Against Homestead, senior Caleb Hewitt played No. 3 singles and battled to the wire before falling in a third-set tiebreaker. Jake Bilby and Tyce Dishman also took their No. 2 doubles match to a third-set tiebreaker but also came up a little short. And seniors Dalton Royal and Preston Shanayda competed well against one of the state’s top doubles teams before losing 4-6, 3-6 to Homestead’s Alex Graber and Eric Ji.
The next round for Delta was a matchup against DeKalb. With Shanayda resting a leg injury, Will Kile got a chance to play varsity with Dalton Royal at No. 1 doubles and they played excellent in a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Another player getting his first chance at varsity was Kam Swoboda, who also played a great match with Aaron Elliott at No. 2 doubles in a 6-2, 6-2 win. The Eagles also picked up straight-set wins from Kody Vest and Owen Cupp in singles, while Simon Marlow battled to the end but dropped a third-set tiebreaker at No. 1 singles against a strong senior for DeKalb.
This set up a final round matchup against Fort Wayne Canterbury. Both teams knew this would be a very close match. Delta had to make yet another adjustment as No. 2 singles player Kody Vest developed a bad headache before the match and had to be scratched from the lineup.
The coaches decided to move Cupp up to No. 2 singles and play Jake Bilby at No. 3 singles even though he had only played doubles matches in his high school career and does not even play singles in practice. But he had the freshest legs out of any of the available players and typically is a smart and consistent player.
Bilby played a terrific match under pressure, winning 6-2, 6-2.
Dalton Royal and Preston Shanayda dominated at No. 1 doubles, winning 6-1, 6-0.
Canterbury claimed the top two singles matches, although Marlow again battled bravely against a strong player before falling 2-6, 5-7 at No. 1 singles.
That left the match in the hands of sophomore Elliott and freshman Dishman, who played several tournament matches this summer together but had not yet been partners in a high school match. They won the first set 6-1, then hit some rough patches in the second set and lost 3-6, paving the way for a 10-point tiebreaker that would settle the entire team match. Canterbury led throughout most of the tiebreaker until Delta won the final four points to gain a 10-7 victory. During that decisive stretch, Elliott made a nice move at the net to hit a winning volley, then Dishman hit a gutsy down-the-line winner past the Canterbury net player, and a strong Dishman serve ended the match.
In JV action Saturday, sophomore Brady Williams went 3-0, winning doubles matches against Homestead, DeKalb and Canterbury with three different partners. He is now 9-2 on the season and is continuing to show solid improvement.
Swoboda got two JV wins, Hewitt gained two JV wins, and Ben Miller, Will Kile and Tyce Dishman each won a JV match. The team’s depth has taken a major step forward this week!
Next up for the Eagles (4-3 overall, 1-1 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference) will be another challenging HHC match at New Castle (10-2 overall, 0-1 in the HHC). That match will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the new Luddy Tennis Complex at New Castle HS. Delta then hosts Lapel on Wednesday before traveling to the Kokomo Invitational on Saturday to face three more strong teams: Kokomo, West Lafayette and Peru.
Final placements in the Carroll Invitational:
1st — #4 Homestead
2nd — #7 Cathedral
3rd — #24 Hamilton Southeastern
4th — #26 FW Carroll
5th — Delta
6th — FW Canterbury
7th — DeKalb