FORT WAYNE – There was some talk, and it even happened a couple of times, of splitting up the Canterbury boys No. 1 doubles team of senior William Wright and junior Chris Yahanda.
But what was the point?
Wright and Yahanda are 16-2 this year as the No. 3 Cavaliers (19-0) play No. 4 Indianapolis North Central (18-1) at 3 p.m. today in the state quarterfinals at Lawrence Central.
Blessed with good instincts and quick hands at the net, Wright and Yahanda have developed the kind of on- and off-court chemistry needed to play doubles.
This is our second year playing together, so we’ve gotten to the point where things kind of just flow because we know what the other’s thinking and his tendencies, Yahanda said. Plus we’re really good friends off the court and outside of tennis, so that helps a lot also.
Last year, the duo was 24-3 and earned first team All-State honors. But there was some thought of breaking them up at the start of the season.
We are open to putting players where they were the best fit for the team, but having had experience at that spot together, it was the logical choice to put them together again, Canterbury coach Jerry Gerig said.
So the pair remained a team, minus the few times they were split up because of injuries and illness. Even when No. 1 singles player Patrick Downs was moving to doubles because of a back injury, the two stayed together and are 5-0 in the postseason.
Putting (Downs) at No. 1 doubles was an option, but the chemistry was so good with William and Chris that we felt he could strengthen our 2 doubles and give us two very strong points, Gerig said. They know what to expect from each on the court, especially this year. Putting them together makes for a great combination. We think it is one of our stronger points against opponents we have faced.
Wright played singles for two years before being paired with Yahanda, who had played at No. 2 doubles as a freshman last season. Yahanda is a singles player during summer tournaments.
Singles is a great time, and I have played much more of it in my career, but a good doubles point is my favorite thing in tennis, Wright said. Singles has a lot of great points and adrenaline, but nothing is more exciting than a close doubles match. A good doubles player has great hands at the net and a threatening serve.
Wright and Yahanda will face North Central junior William Reifeis and sophomore Patrick McAuley (23-3) in the state quarterfinals match today. The Cavaliers fell to the Panthers 5-0 at last year’s semistate, but Wright and Yahanda didn’t face McAuley and Reifeis, who played at No. 2 doubles then.
For me and Will, we need to keep our energy and focus up, Yahanda said. We can’t have any periods where we lose focus and let some points slip away because North Central’s a great team. We also have to make sure not to get sped up when things aren’t going our way. As a team, everyone has to do their job. Everyone has to go out and try to win their point and not let the pressure and the spotlight get to them.