Tippecanoe’s Hackenberger wins D-I singles sectional; Red Devils send six to district

TROY — Kaci Matthews’ Tippecanoe boys tennis team will be will be well represented at the D-I district tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center Thursday.

Kessler Hackenberger and Cameron Davis in singles and two doubles teams will be playing in the district tournament.

“I am really proud of these guys and what they have accomplished,” Matthews said. “We have played a tough schedule this year and it it shows.”

SINGLES

Tippecanoe junior Kessler Hackenberger doesn’t lose many matches.

And when he does, he doesn’t forget.

For the second straight year, Sidney’s Grant Hoying defeated Hackenberger in the regular season — and for the second straight year Hackenberger beat Hoying in a pro-set at the MVL tournament and won the sectional title.

On Saturday, it was a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Hoying.

“There is not a day I don’t think about that loss,” Hackenberger said. “The same thing happened last year. I really wanted to defend my title. Grant (Hoying) has been a really tough competitor over the years. He is a great player and it was nice to win the final one (match between the two).”

Matthews was not surprised by Hackenberger’s performance.

“Kessler (Hackenberger) is a really good player and there is a reason for that,” she said. “He is always working to get better. He always plays hard. He never stops moving his feet. He is always working at getting better.”

Hackenberger was on top of his game Saturday.

“I did play well,” he said. “I felt my forehand was especially strong today. And I just played solid. I was very consistent.”

Earlier in the semifinals, he defeated the third seed Sam Steck of Fairborn 6-0, 6-1.

And he looks forward to a return trip to district.

“I would like to win my first match,” Hackenberger said. “I didn’t quite get that done last year. I am feeling better about it this year.”

Matthews agrees.

“I think Kessler is improved quite a bit from last year,” Matthews said. “He plays a lot of USTA matches, we played a lot of tough matches this year and he learns every time he plays in one of those matches. He may not win them all, but he is always learning. That is what makes him such a good player.”

Cameron Davis dropped two matches Saturday.

The fourth seed lost to Hoying 6-2, 6-1 and to Steck 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.

DOUBLES

Aaron Davis and Luke Blake gave Troy’s Henry Johnston and Yasashi Masumaga a battle before losing to the second seeds 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

They fought off two match points at 5-3 in the third set to get back on serve, but Troy got a break in the next game to end the match.

“Those are two really good teams,” Matthews said. “Hats off to Troy. Henry (Johnston) and Yasashi (Masunaga) are really good players. Henry is such a good doubles player. He has really good footwork. We never stopped battling.”

Earlier, Davis and Blake had beaten Greenville’s Jack Marchal and Andrew Abell — the fourth seed — 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals.

Sean Nichols and Ryan Hartke — the third seed — dropped two matches Saturday.

They lost to Johnston and Masunaga 6-2, 6-7 (1) 6-0 and lost to Marchal and Abell 6-3, 6-0.

“Overall, I am proud of what we accomplished today,” Matthews said.

Which will lead to another strong contingent of Red an Black at district.