By Carey Phillips


Smoky Mountain’s Ben Mathews went 1-1 in the Western 3-A Tennis Regionals to wrap up SM’s inaugural season Friday at Hickory.

Mathews blanked Enka’s Kevin Donahue 6-0, 6-0 in the first match.

He was eliminated in the second match 6-1, 6-0 by Shiv Patel, a South Point freshman. Patel went on to knock off the top two seeds en route to winning the regional championship.

“Ben was hitting a lot of first serves and playing great tennis,” Coach Tyler Mulligan said of the match with Donahue. “Ben didn’t play bad against the Patel kid either. He made a few mistakes, but he pretty much dominated that first match in all aspects.”

They split the first two games before Patel took control.

“That kid was playing some really good tennis,” Mulligan said. “We thought Ben was in a good spot. He was seeded sixth overall. The kid from South Point was playing at a really high level.”

Mulligan said Mathews had wrist surgery a couple of weeks before the season started.

“That was kind of in the back of his mind all year,” Mulligan said. “For him to be able to compete at the level he did after having surgery was impressive. Ben had a great year for us. We’re excited to have him back next year as a senior.”