Izzo medals at Henlopen Conference championship
The Indian River High School boys’ tennis team may have fallen short of their season goal of reaching another Henlopen South championship, but senior Sam Izzo was still able to achieve a personal victory by medaling at the conference championships last weekend.
“I know we were really wanting to win the conference. They’re used to winning,” said first-year head coach Kelsey Waite. “We had quite a few 3-2 losses that were tough to handle.”
Waite went on to commend first-singles player and senior Rydge Murray, who faced some of the best players in the state all season and at conferences.
“He’s playing the best players in Delaware. My hat’s off to him,” she said. “He did an amazing job.”
After winning his Friday matchup against Sussex Central junior John Messeck, Izzo — who entered as a four seed — went on to face the tournament’s first seed in the third singles bracket, Caesar Rodney junior Trey Parker.
After falling to Parker 6-2, 6-0 during the regular season, Izzo put together an impressive performance as he battled for a chance to play for first place, but ultimately fell short 7-5, 6-4. As a result, he went on to face Milford senior Bryan Messick in the consolation round for third place.
Izzo had defeated Messick when the two squared off in their first match of the season; however, Messick bested Izzo in their second meeting in three sets — in a match that ended up robbing the Indians of a Southern Conference title.
“Needless to say, the last day of tournament brought great anticipation and emotion for both players,” said Waite of the third meeting of the season between the rival players.
Despite the added pressure, Izzo pulled out the win and took home the third-place medal.
“I’m glad he could demonstrate his athleticism and competitive spirit,” Waite said, commending the senior on the last of his many Indian River High School athletic events. “He should be very proud of how he concluded his high school tennis career.”
His third-place finish at conferences marks Izzo’s final athletic achievement in his four-year career as an Indian River Indian, to go along with four division titles, four conference titles and a state championship for soccer, three division titles and a state championship as a kicker for the football team, and two division titles in tennis.