Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Homestead freshman Andrew Meier cruised to 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles against Concord Saturday at semistate.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Daniel Gilbert of Homestead prepares for a forehand swing during Semi State at the Wildwood Racquet Club Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Bryant Zitlaw of Homestead returns a volley during his semi-state doubles match Saturday night at the Wildwood Racquet Club.
Sunday, October 07, 2018 1:00 am
Freshman excels for state-bound Spartans
ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette
Homestead coach Kerry Mumma wanders from court to court Saturday night at Wildwood Tennis Club during the Homestead boys tennis semistate. But Mumma rarely feels the need to check up on Andrew Meier.
The freshman at No.3 singles has lost just one match this season and was the first one off the courts Saturday as he helped Homestead (21-1) defeat Concord (18-3) 5-0 for a semistate title and trip to the state finals.
“We kind of just leave him alone,” Mumma said. “I really don't coach him a lot. I think he gets nervous if I'm watching him, so it's nice as a coach to just leave him be and win.”
Meier defeated Caleb Whitaker 6-0, 6-0 and is feeling as confident as ever.
“Today went pretty well. I felt like I had my best strokes and I feel like I was hitting my spots,” Meier said. “I think it gives me that confidence I need to go forward.”
Mumma said being able to count on Meier to deliver, as a freshman, has been crucial to the Spartans' success.
“He is an absolute beast. There's not enough words to say about him,” Mumma said. “He's matured even as a freshman just over the course of the last couple of months.”
Spartans' senior leader David Heiney, who defeated Alexander Serwatka 6-2, 6-1, said Meier is an incredible.
“Andrew's an absolute baller. He's come in and the hype environment hasn't bothered him,” Heiney said. “We can pretty much expect his point every match.”
The hype hasn't gotten to Meier. Calm and cool throughout his matches and knowing what's to come for his team – a rematch with Carmel – he is yet to be fazed.
“I think I'll handle it pretty well, because I've had that experience in other tournaments,” he said. “We kind of have a target on our backs but we can just push through it.”
Mumma was elated with his team's performance after he thought they were a little out of focus in regionals.
“I feel a lot better than I did at the end of regionals,” Mumma said. “Today was just a complete turnaround. I felt all five courts really, really played well and that's a good feeling getting ready to go to state.”
At No. 2 singles, Daniel Gilbert defeated Frederic Buckingham 6-0, 6-0. Mumma said what Meier is doing this year is similar to what Gilbert was able to accomplish last year at the No. 3 spot.
“I didn't have to coach him. I pretty much felt like he was going to win every match,” Mumma said of Gilbert. “I almost can say I can count on that point all the time, and that's a nice feeling.”
In No. 1 doubles, Tim Steiner and Bryant Zitlaw defeated Concord's Travis Hermon and Nathan Slabach 6-3, 6-3. Thaddeus Dressel and Landon Sather defeated Grant Lucchese and Drew McDougle 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles.
The Spartans will square off with Carmel in the state quarterfinals – where they got knocked out last year – Friday in hopes of continuing their postseason run.
“This year's (semistate title) feels even better,” Heiney said. “It's a more special feeling because I think we can go all the way.”