In a battle of the only two remaining undefeated teams in the TEC, Knightstown traveled to Hagerstown for a showdown over who has the best regular season record in the TEC Conference. For the second year in a row, the Panthers finished 8-0 in the conference. Knightstown elected to join the TEC last year.
The battle started as usual, with Garrett Dalton coming off the courts with the first score for the Panthers, winning #2 Singles 6-2, 6-0. AJ Dalton widened the lead soon thereafter with a win at #1 Singles, 6-2, 6-2. The Panthers were up 2-0 early. Hagerstown, however, has loaded their best players into Doubles for a post season run, with four Seniors playing dubs. Senior Ethan Yoder and Freshman Kyle Johnson continued to make adjustments throughout the match and battled, losing the 0-6 in the first set but narrowly lost the second set 5-7 after a great come back. #2 Doubles, behind an improving team of Alex Cook and Dylan Chandler, jumped out to an early lead, winning the first set, and leading in the second until a brief rain stopped the action. Hagerstown rallied after the break, winning the 2nd and 3rd sets to notch the victory. That brought the overall match to a tie, 2-2.
Enter Cooper Davis, the Panthers #3 Singles. In what became a 2 1/2 hour battle, this was a great match against two skilled tennis players. Cooper lost the first set in a tie-break, after playing even to 6-6. Cooper made some adjustments in strategy and rallied back to win the second set 6-3. At this point, it was 7 minutes before sunset, and the ball was getting harder to see, requiring even more concentration. The coaches agreed on a sudden-death 10 point tie-break to determine the match. All other courts were finished, and everyone knew the TEC regular season came down to this court. Battling point for point with both teams and fans cheering, Cooper kept his nerves and clutched a win for the Panthers 10-6. To say the least, it was a rowdy ride back to Knightstown.
With two days of practice ahead, the Panthers finish their regular season against Eastern Hancock on Thursday. Saturday begins the TEC Conference Tourney at Winchester, followed by the Sectionals the next week.