Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

Sheppard: 'We did very well'

By ALLAN MANDELL, Ledger sports editor | May 10, 2017
Photo by: ALLAN MANDELL Navin Martin competes against Fort Madison on Monday during the semifinals in the SEC No. 1 doubles bracket.

 

 

Fairfield senior Navin Martin and junior teammate Gannon Courtright were on one side of the net.

Directly across from them was Fort Madison’s top doubles team, Dante Seaney and Johnny Hernandez.

This was Monday afternoon at Fairfield Middle School during the Southeast Conference Championship Tennis Meet.

Martin-Courtright and Seaney-Hernandez were squaring off in the semifinals of the No. 1 doubles bracket.

Seaney-Hernandez had defeated Martin-Courtright twice during the 2017 season.

“This was the third time we were playing them,” Martin said. “Gannon and I really wanted this one.”

The Trojan duo had taken the first set, 6-4. The Bloodhounds won Set 2, 6-2.

In the tiebreaker — the first team to score 10 points takes the match — Fairfield led 9-6.

Seaney delivered a strong serve, Courtright responded with an equally effective return.

The two teams exchanged volley after volley.

Then Martin smelled blood. He was at the net and a high lob came off the racket of Seaney.

With surgeon-like precision, Martin swung the racket over his head and … boom! Martin sent over a commanding missile, the ball went inbounds between Seaney and Hernandez and blasted off the back fence.

Match over.

“Being match-point, that was a high-pressure shot Navin made there,” said Trojan head coach Bill Sheppard. “He came through.”

Said Martin, “I had to really take my time not to mess up that shot. But in the end, it worked out. I was excited.”

So was Courtright.

“I was very excited Navin made that shot,” he said. “We went out there and played hard, we were getting after it. Navin has the ability to put away a lot of balls at the net.”

Later in the day, Martin-Courtright were defeated in the championship match by Mt. Pleasant’s Ben Zihlman-Ethan Weber (6-2, 6-2).

“That was a tough match for us,” Martin said. “But I’m still happy with the way Gannon and I played.”

Ultimately, Fairfield earned 10 team points, tying Fort Madison for third place. Mt. Pleasant and Keokuk shared the conference title with 17 points apiece.

“A lot of close matches created a close SEC tournament,” Sheppard said.

In No. 2 doubles, Trojans Logan Williams and Elijah Parr defeated Mt. Pleasant (6-1, 6-4) and Fort Madison (6-2, 6-4) to take first place.

Parr and Williams were each effective in singles play as well. Parr took third at No. 3 and Williams was third at No. 4.

Trojan Jarod Willmon took third at No. 5 singles, Martin finished third at No. 1 and Courtright was third at No. 2.

“I thought our guys did really well,” Sheppard said. “Our No. 1 doubles team took out Fort Madison, who was the No. 1 seed in the bracket. And Navin and Gannon handled them quite well — that was great playing. They didn’t win the finals but they played really good tennis.

“And our No. 2 doubles team won, so we can’t complain about that.

“Overall, we did very well and I was very pleased — and I think we’re in a good position for the districts on Thursday.”

 

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