Cougars still hungry

October 1, 2018

Even though it captured the school’s first-ever sectional title last week, New Prairie’s boys tennis team isn’t totally satisfied.

It’s striving to continue its postseason success when it plays in the La Porte Regional.

The Cougars next meet Chesterton in a La Porte Regional semifinal on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the LeRoy Courts in Kesling Park.

“The sectional championship was a goal, and now that we’ve reached that goal, we still want to continue on,” New Prairie coach Joel Hostetler said. “They’ll come out very loose and relaxed, and play aggressively, which is what we want them to do.”

The Cougars rallied from early holes at three positions against Michigan City, allowing them to win 5-0 in Thursday’s La Porte Sectional final.

That assured New Prairie of its first-ever tennis sectional crown in the Cougars’ boys or girls history. This is the 45th year of New Prairie boys tennis.

In addition, the Cougars (19-3) have already set the school record for wins.

Now New Prairie has shifted its attention to Chesterton, a team it didn’t face in the regular season.

The Trojans downed Valparaiso 4-1 for the Portage Sectional title on Thursday.

“I like the matchup with Chesterton,” Hostetler said. “Now, they’ve changed their lineup around a little bit, so I don’t have much to go on. But we match up pretty well with them in singles, and possibly at No. 1 doubles, too. Their No. 2 doubles is extremely strong, because they haven’t changed those guys at all. So those guys are pretty good. But in tennis you only have to win three out of the five. So we do match up decent enough with them, so we should be able to give them a run for their money.”

In Tuesday’s other La Porte Regional semifinal, Penn and South Bend St. Joseph meet. The winners face off in Wednesday’s regional final.

Hostetler added what’s really pivotal for his squad is to not put too much pressure on themselves.

“First off, to play very relaxed and to just treat it as another match,” Hostetler said. “Because our three singles guys are a freshmen and two sophomores, so if they just treat it like another match, just go out and play, then we’ve got a good chance. The two seniors who are playing No. 1 doubles, they need to focus in completely. They’ve had a great year and they know how to handle adversity, like when they get down in a match.”

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