Senior Kooper Falkenstein, the No. 2 singles player for Jeffersonville, gave his team an early lift as his win sparked the Red Devils to a 4-1 victory over New Albany in the final of the Silver Creek Boys’ Tennis Regional on Wednesday.
Falkenstein beat New Albany’s Rohan Reddy 6-2, 6-0 to notch the first decision of the match – a big boost early on with the Red Devils struggling at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.
“I think it’s very important, it relaxes the rest of the team to know there’s a point on the board,” said Falkenstein, who is now 25-0 this season.
“Having him at No. 2 is a blessing,” Jeffersonville coach Mark Reilly said of Falkenstein, adding that the early win in the match helps “to get the team off to a good start.”
The momentum that Falkenstein sparked helped the Red Devils put the match away early as well. Bradley Cross, at No. 3 singles, beat New Albany freshman Nolan Keeler 6-0, 6-0. Moments later, Jeff’s young No. 2 doubles team, freshman Blake Winchell and sophomore Keith Asplund dispatched New Albany sophomores Ryan Robinson and Logan Conrad 6-3, 6-2.
That made it 3-0 and the Red Devils had clinched the Regional title – advancing to play the winner of the Evansville Bosse Regional at the Jasper Semistate on Saturday. That match starts at 10 a.m.
But there was still tennis to play – in the No. 1 singles and doubles matches.
Junior Logan Charbonneau of New Albany gave the Bulldogs fans something to cheer about with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Brock Winchell.
“I played good today, it’s all I could have hoped for,” said Charbonneau.
“He’s very focused,” New Albany coach Bob Dusch said of Charbonneau. “His mental approach to the game is excellent.”
As a No. 1 seed winner on a losing team, Charbonneau advances to play in the Singles Sectional at Silver Creek, 4:30 p.m. Thursday. There he’ll take on Landon Carrico of Providence, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Corydon’s Clayton Schreck on Wednesday.
“He’s a solid player, a grinder,” Charbonneau said of Carrico.
But Charbonneau’s goal isn’t just to get past Carrico.
“I want to win state,” he said.
The best match of the day was in No. 1 doubles, where Jeffersonville’s Jack Reilly and Sam Coward dropped a set before beating Nathan Johnson and Jacob Stevens 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 to put a cap on the 4-1 Red Devils win.
“They’ve played together for four years,” coach Reilly said of his No. 1 doubles team. “They stay confident.”
As a team, Jeffersonville has earned that confidence.
“For us to be 20-0 at this point, with a team GPA of 3.71, it’s a blessing to coach them,” said Reilly. “It’s a good group of guys.”
And Falkenstein sees it from the player perspective.
“We always try to have confidence, not cockiness,” he said. “As a team we’re peaking at the right time.”
On the other side, Charbonneau had his own assessment of the team effort.
“I’m proud of our play, we showed improvement and I’m proud of that,” he said.