Smith, Cole wrap up careers on high note

Indian River’s first-doubles tandem of Ed Smith and Charlie Cole finished their senior season with an 11-3 record and had a good showing in this year’s state tournament.

“They played high-level tennis,” commented head coach Sean Oates.

“This was the best Smith had played,” he said. “It seemed like everything came together for them.”

They upset No. 3 seed Charter by winning the final two sets (6-4, 6-4) after dropping the first 1-6 and nearly beat No. 6 seed Brandywine in a three-set tiebreaker to advance to the semifinals.

Cole and Smith beat Brandywine’s best 6-4 in the first set, then dropped the next after leading 5-4 with a couple of match point opportunities that sent the match into the third set.

Indian River led 3-1 in the third before giving way 7-6.

Cole and Smith rolled up to that point, winning both matches on Saturday before eventually losing to Brandywine in the quarterfinals. Had they won that match, there’s no telling how far they could’ve gone according to Oates.

“Brandywine (No. 1 doubles) was one of the best in the state and they should’ve won in the semifinals but had we beat them, we could’ve had an excellent chance to win a state championship,” Oates said.Oates noted that Seaford had a “disappointing” showing and Caesar Rodney was knocked out by the No. 7 seed, which set the table for a great championship run — but the wheels fell off.

Despite the team losing, Oates was very proud of his players’ performances.

“They have nothing to hang their head for,” he said. “They played with the best in the state.”