FORT WAYNE – Clay Hoffacker looked in the ice bucket at his right ankle and simply said it hurt. But considering Hoffacker had just played in a match in which he – and his team – won, the Canterbury senior will take the pain.
Hoffacker missed half the season with a pulled abdominal muscle but returned to the court in time for the postseason. He helped the Cavaliers win their fourth straight regional title with 5-0 win over host Carroll on Wednesday. I always get injured, Hoffacker said after beating Austin Legere 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2 singles. I just expect it every season. It is always a bummer, but maybe it is a good thing because it gives me more motivation because I always want to be on the court. I dont like being on the sidelines; I like to contribute.
The teams three seniors, Hoffacker, Davis Huber and Chris Yahanda, have formed a core that has helped the Cavaliers to the only four regional titles in school history.
It is a privilege to get four regional titles under my belt, said Davis, who won 6-2, 6-1 over Alex Houser at No. 1 singles.
Canterbury also got wins from Tom Filus 6-0, 6-2 over Mason Hicks at No. 3 singles, Yahanda and Chad Schouweiler 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 over Dillon Fernando and Jimiroqua Stanchin at No. 1 doubles and Ankur Lai and Michael Wang 7-5, 6-3 over Hunter Davis and Ryan Van Wyngarden at No. 2 doubles.
Fourth-ranked Canterbury (19-1) will now face a familiar postseason foe in No. 2 Indianapolis North Central (20-0) at 10 a.m. Saturday at Homestead in a one-match semistate with the winner advancing to the state quarterfinals.
The last three postseasons have ended for the Cavaliers against the Panthers, including last years 5-0 loss in the state quarterfinals. Canterburys three seniors are 83-5 in four years, with three of the losses coming to North Central, the 2011 and 2012 state runner-up.
Before I always knew we were probably going to lose but this time I have a different feeling, Hoffacker said. I think we can make it different this time.
The two teams have played once this year, with North Central winning 4-1 in a match that Hoffacker missed because of his ailments.
Our lineup is a little different this time, Davis said. Everybody has been all around, and we have just been testing things to get the right lineup. Everybody plays differently on certain days. I think it is a great lineup, and I think it will do us well.
Cavaliers coach Jerry Gerig said North Central has the upper hand in the doubles, and so the three singles slots will be crucial.
The first time we went to play them we knew we werent going to be able to bring what we thought was our best lineup because of the injury, Gerig said. Knowing that we are bringing a full and healthy lineup gives our guys confidence.