After a rained out cancellation against conference foe Tri High, the Panthers were anxious to get back to work. Saturday morning the team arrived early at Waldron, looking to defend their title as the Waldron Invitational champs.
The Panthers struck early against Trinity Lutheran sweeping all three singles courts in short order behind strong play from AJ Dalton, Garrett Dalton and Kyle Johnson. Seniors Ethan Yoder and Treavor Cook followed with a solid win a #1 Doubles. Alex Cook and Dylan Chandler finished the first round clean sweep with a win at #2 Doubles, advancing to the championship round.
Last year, host Waldron advanced to face Knightstown in the finals, but this year they were edged out by a much improved Oldenburg Academy. Knightstown sent Oldenburg packing last year in the first round, so they were keen to turn the tables.
The Panthers looked extremely strong from the first serve. Garrett Dalton blasted the #2 Singles court 6-1, 6-0 in under 40 minutes, setting the tone for the championship round. AJ Dalton won the #1 Singles court 6-2, 6-2 while Kyle Johnson, the only Freshman so far this year to earn a varsity slot, locked down the win for the Panthers at #3 Singles.
Ethan Yoder and Treavor Cook cruised to a 6-1 first set win at #1 Doubles, but dropped the second set 4-6, setting the stage for a 3rd set tie break. Yoder and Cook were clutch, opening with a solid lead and never looking back, winning the tiebreak 10-6.
Dylan Chandler and Alex Cook were also engaged in a tight battle at #2 Doubles. They won the first set but dropped the second, again forcing a 3rd set tiebreak. Only 2 points into the tie break, the skies opened to a downpour, stopping the match. The rain continued for 30 minutes, so the match was called.
The Panthers had already swept the first 4 courts, so the outcome was determined. The Panthers brought home the hardware for the second consecutive year.
Five of the Knightstown JV played matches against Invitational opponents. Connor Keith and Freshman Connor Pyle dominated on the #1 Doubles JV court against their Waldron opponents, winning 8-1. Austin Campton played a tough match at #3 Singles JV, dropping the court 4-8 to a relentless opponent. Cooper Davis was up 4-2 at #1 Singles JV and Brady Howell was up 3-2 at #2 Singles JV, with both headed toward victories when the rains came, ending the day. Knightstown faces some strong competition in the coming 2 weeks both on the road and at home, so we’ll get a chance to see how good they are compared to last years 18-1 team.