Fresh off the program’s best finish in the state tennis tournament, the Elizabethtown Panthers continued their dominance in The News-Enterprise All-Area Individual Honor Picks with a clean sweep of the awards.
Six of the nine first-team selections by coaches were Elizabethtown players.
Region coaches nominated their own players for consideration from all regions and coaches then voted from a ballot for team and individual awards. Coaches could not vote for their own players. The individual awards were on a 5-3-1 voting format with five points for first place, three for second and one for third.
Matthew Parsons, Elizabethtown High School
Parsons, a sophomore, won two matches in the state tournament after winning the 5th Region singles title.
“I was definitely the most satisfied with my forehand,” Parsons said of his game last season. “It was important in many ways in gaining points which helped me gain momentum in games.”
Parsons received three first-place votes and finished with 18 points to edge Central Hardin’s Jacob Jiranek, who finished with 16 points.
He said he was “humbled” by the honor.
“…I feel like Jacob Jiranek and my teammate, Chase Moreman, really pushed me to my limits this year,” he said. “It means a lot to me that the coaches chose me for this honour. Most of the coaches I already knew and they really helped me fall in love with the game when I was younger. They all really inspired to become as good as possible.
With two seasons of high school playing remaining, Parsons isn’t resting on what he’s accomplished so far.
“I know I can be a lot more dominant next season on serve and that’s what I plan to focus on in the offseason,” Parsons said. “I also really want to improve all of our players in singles and doubles and have an amazing team next year that has a chance of not only winning the regional title, but also the state title.”
Landon Hagan/Mason Baldwin, Elizabethtown High School
The sophomore combo had quite a run in the state tournament reaching the state quarterfinals.
“Landon and I have been great friends our whole lives, which I think has definitely helped our chemistry on the court,” Baldwin said. “We were able to play more relaxed and under control.”
The pair won the regional title and carried that momentum into the state tournament.
“We’ve known each other since we were young and the trust is still there between us,” Hagan said. “I also feel like our styles of play go very well together.”
Hagan and Baldwin were grateful the coaches recognized their season.
“Being recognized by coaches in the region means a lot to me because the work we’ve done all season hasn’t been ignored,” Baldwin said. “There were other great doubles teams in the area, and this honor is a great accomplishment.”
They finished with three first-place votes and 15 points. North Hardin duo Cayden Logsdon and Charlies Vowels finished second with 11 points.
Newcomer of the yearEthan Ploetz, Elizabethtown High School
Last year, Ploetz was a student at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Pa., before moving to Elizabethtown and attending EHS where he made a quick impact with the Panthers.
Teaming up with junior Jason Towell, the pair won two games in the state tournament.
“It is an honor to be selected by this talented regional tennis community,” said Ploetz. “It was my first year playing in Region 5 and I’m grateful for the warm welcome I received from the players and coaches.”
He said he got along well with Towell.
“I was very pleased with the communication and teamwork with my doubles partner Jason Towell,” he added.
Ploetz received three first-place votes and 15 points. Central Hardin’s Samuel Bryan finished second.
Roger Henson, Elizabethtown High School
Henson said a determined Panther team had a successful season under his leadership by working hard and adhering to a team concept.
“We have a great group of boys on and off the pitch who continually work hard and push each other,” Henson said. “Their friendship and desire to improve culminated in a fourth place finish at the state tournament. I am proud but honored to be part of the highest ranked team in this region and EHS in tennis. us, they all come back and aim to finish higher next year.
Henson earned 11 points for the award. Central Hardin’s Jody Bingham finished second.