Siegel stuns Eagles in finals

Friday, May 9, 2014
Carson Clanton rushes to save a volley against his Siegel singles opponent in the region final on Thursday afternoon. (T-G Photo by Chris Siers)

Prior to Thursday's region final against Siegel, the Shelbyville Central Golden Eagle tennis team carried an undefeated streak into the postseason.

Although the Eagles have dominated throughout the year, they ran into a buzzsaw Siegel team in the Region 4-AAA finals.

Led by seniors Jonathan Smotherman, Tyler Merlo and Carson Clanton, the Eagles have captured three consecutive District 8-AAA titles, but struggled to make it out of the region.

Tough foes

On Thursday, reigning 8-AAA singles champion Jonathan Smotherman fell behind early and could never make up the ground against top-ranked Star, Taylor Graalman.

Graalman defeated Smotherman 6-1, 6-0 to put the Stars up 1-0 early.

No. 4 Chadwick Daugherty finished next, defeating Shelbyville's Carson Clanton 6-4, 6-2.

With a 2-0 lead, Siegel needed just two more singles wins to secure the team win.

No. 2 Michael Jacobs inched the Stars one step closer with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Taylor Peterman.

Like Peterman, No. 4 Eagle Tyler Merlo battled to the bitter end against Siegel No. 3 Mohammed Al-Zubaidi, who eventually claimed the win, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

With the Stars taking a 4-0 win, play was suspended in the No. 5 seeded match between Eddie Green and Aaron Biddix, with Bidix leading 6-1, 4-6, 2-4 at the time the match was called.

'Worthy foe'

Taylor Peterman works the backhand for a key point in singles action on Thursday. (T-G Photo by Chris Siers)

"Siegel is a worthy foe. Our boys gave it everything they had and nearly took the match to doubles. I'd like to see what would have happened in doubles if a couple of singles matches had gone our way. Our team loves to play doubles."

"Coach (Chris) King and I are going to miss this group of seniors leading this team. They have set the bar high for others to follow. We have some up-and-coming JV players who will have a big opportunity to play in a varsity spot. We'll see who emerges to fill those leadership roles," said Shelbyville coach Doyle Hutton.

Though team competition has finished for the Eagles, Merlo, Clanton, and Smotherman are still alive in the individual region tournament, which Shelbyville will host all day on Monday at H.V. Griffin Park.