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|Contributed Photo. The Highlands freshmen doubles team of Eli Back and Eli Hornsby made it to the second day winning twice in the state tournament Tuesday.|
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They ventured to Nicholasville needing two wins to advance to the second day Tuesday at the state tennis tournament.
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The Highlands doubles team of Eli Back and Eli Hornsby made it to the second day. Senior Peter Laskey won his first singles match, but not the second.
"Eli Back and Eli Hornsby played great. Peter had a tough second round. But he played great, too," said Kris Laskey, Highlands Head Coach. "He fought and almost had him. We had a good day."
Hornsby and Back opened the state tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 win over senior Nathaniel Kumar and junior Hilal Sofyan in the morning at Top Seed Tennis Club outdoors. This is their first appearance in the state tournament.
"Most of it was going out there and playing our game because when we're out there on the court, it's almost like we're in sync with each other," Back said. "We know what each other is thinking. We know what each other wants to do. We have to find out what the weakness of the opponent is. Once we figure that out, we both get on track."
In the second match, Back and Hornsby defeated Bullitt East senior Kameron Mullins and freshman Andrew Kruse indoors. This marked the first Highlands boys doubles team to advance to the third round since 2012 when Highlands seniors Atlee Mitchell and Aran Coughlan did it.
"The first team played two back. There was no one at the net so we had to adjust to that," Hornsby said. "We hit some drop shots and kept them running up to the net that way they didn't get too comfortable with the base line. The second team played by the books."
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Peter Laskey then faced Owensboro junior Dylan Mather. Mather won 6-2, 7-6 (7) ending Peter Laskey's storied career. He played both matches indoors after playing outdoor matches all season.
"Indoor, outdoor, you just go where they tell you," Kris Laskey said. "All those guys train indoors so it's not like they don't play indoor. I just find it interesting that the KHSAA moves them indoor unless it's raining. That's an advantage for kids that play inside. But fortunately, the Highlands kids play indoors and everyone here at state does. It didn't affect our kids at all."
Peter Laskey finished 3-6 in his career at state making six appearances. He also won a first- round match in doubles in 2016 as a seventh grader.
Highlands finished 20-2 as a team this year finishing 9th Region runner-up. The Bluebirds beat Covington Catholic during the regular season
"I have lots of fun at state," Peter Laskey said. "But my favorite memories have been matches we've had in the past. My favorite highlight was beating CovCath this year among lots of other dual matches. I'm looking forward to checking scores next year and seeing how (the team does). It's a little bittersweet for it to end. But it all has to end sometime. It's been a fun run."
Back and Hornsby face South Oldham senior Matthew Thomas and junior Jordan Cordrey in the third round on Wednesday. Game time is 10:30 a.m. back in Nicholasville.