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Lookebill talks about Sullivan's first win in three years

By B.J. Hargis
Photo by B.J. Hargis: Jeff Lookebill

Three years is a long time, especially when you are losing.
Unfortunately, nobody knows this better than Sullivan boys tennis coach Jeff Lookebill.
Lookebill and his Golden Arrows snapped a 54-match losing streak on Wednesday, defeating South Knox 3-2.
It was 16 days short of three years since the Golden Arrows ended the 2015 regular season with a 4-0 win over North Central.
“I am really happy for the kids,” said Lookebill. “We have struggled with numbers the last couple of kids.
“The last few years, we have had six kids (one short of having a complete team). But the kids have worked hard to improve.”
Each year it seems like a few players are lost to graduation, or have academic issues or move on to other sports, which means it is almost like Lookebill has to start over every season.
This year was no different as the Arrows have had six players all year and lost the first 13 matches of the season.
“We faced a good, young team in South Knox on Wednesday,” said Lookebill.
Senior Kegan Meng won in straight sets at No. 1 singles, his second victory of the season.
Scott Fusco needed three sets, but earned a point with a win at No. 2 singles.
The No. 1 doubles team of Jared Couch and Braden Cagle did not lose a game in winning in straight sets.
The No. 2 doubles team of Carter Trowbridge and Noah Kincaid fell in two sets, the second decided by a tiebreaker.
“All the boys played well,” said Lookebill. “Kegan figured out his opponent about halfway into the first set. He moved well and served better.
“Our number one doubles team got their first win this season. It was nice to see Jared and Braden win this match so convincingly. They have had three other match’s that went to three sets this year, but came up just short on those. It was a good win for them.”
The coach said that Trowbridge and Kincaid dropped a close match at two doubles.
 “The points and games went back-and-forth so many times that other matches we’re almost complete before they finished the first set,” said Lookebill. “The second set was the same way.
“Carter and Noah pushed it to a tiebreaker only to come up a little short. Their net game is still improving and it shows in their scores.”
Lookebill said that Fusco’s was the match of the day.
“He got out to an early lead in the first set and finished it well,” said Lookebill. “His opponent got warmed up early in the second set. He broke Scott’s serve and changed his strategy a little bit and started moving Scott around the court more.
“We talked at the end of the second set and went over what had worked in the first set and what it would take to get back into the match. The boys were pretty evenly matched and went down to who wanted it the most.”
The coach added that he believes Scott realized the whole match might depend on him winning his match.
“He went out and started the third set with a good mindset,” said Lookebill. “He got to the ball early and was making good offensive shots.
“He broke serve early and went on to take the match easily in the third set. It was not an easy thing to do after losing the second set. It was Scott’s first win of the year and a good win mentally for the whole team.”
Lookebill said that the team had kept working and persevering despite the results.
“I am really proud of the way these boys have represented themselves and Sullivan High School,” said Lookebill. “They have tried to make the best of a less than perfect situation.”
“Hopefully we can continue to work toward getting things turned around.”
The Arrows (1-13) will host Linton on Monday.
Sullivan 3, South Knox 2
1. Kegan Meng (S) d. Nathan Ruppel (SK), 6-3, 6-1
2. Scott Fusco (S) d. Caleb Cunningham (SK), 6-2, 2-6, 6-0
3. South Knox won by forfeit
1. Jared Couch-Braden Cagle (S) d. Tom Schmidt-Nolan Hayes (SK), 6-0, 6-0
2. Jace Willis-Zac Schmidt (SK) d. Carter Trowbridge-Noah Kincaid (S), 6-4, 6-6, (7-3)

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