The homecoming has been a warm one for senior Andrew Kahn the past couple of years.
Kahn, who played tennis for Homestead as a freshman, led fifth-ranked Zionsville to its second straight semistate championship Saturday with a 5-0 win over the host Spartans in the championship match.
“We come back on Friday night, and we practiced here and it was a strange feeling,” said Kahn, who was in Southwest Allen Community Schools in grades 2-9. “Almost like déjÀ vu. I remember playing on this court every day my freshman year.
“I still have a lot of connections up here, and I still know all the tennis kids. It is a little bit of a welcoming like that (of a homecoming).”
The two semistate championships are the first two in school history for Zionsville (21-2).
“We have had a great team with a lot of potential, and we will see what happens next weekend,” Kahn said of Zionsville’s return to state.
Kahn beat Homestead sophomore Connor Andrews at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-4.
It was a tough challenge for the No. 11 Spartans (17-5), who beat Delta (16-8) 5-0 in the semifinals. The Eagles have won all seven of their postseason matches by a 5-0 score.
“I am not sure we could have gotten any further than this,” Homestead coach Jim Clark said. “No matter who we played at this point, we just weren’t quite deep enough. Zionsville has been here before, and they have the experience. You can’t be that disappointed. I would have liked to have a better score.”
But Clark said that with a starting lineup of one senior and six underclassmen, he expects the Spartans to be back and challenging for a semistate title next season.
“We had a two-year plan anyway, but unfortunately for our senior (Scott Rumancik), he won’t be part of the plan,” Clark said. “We had a great season. Homestead will be successful, and we will continue to be, so I am very proud of the team.
“I think we should have a veteran team next year and for the next couple of years. It is exciting to know we aren’t done yet. Today was Zionsville’s day, and hopefully next year will be ours.”
Homestead sophomore Austin Overlander put up a fight at No. 3 singles, losing 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to Zionsville’s Conner Dunn. Junior Michael Zurcher (No. 2 singles), sophomore Jordan Mauk and junior Brad White (No. 1 doubles) and Rumancik and junior Steve Anderson (No. 2 doubles) all lost in straight sets.