New Richmond boys tennis team beginning young this seasonThe lack of varsity experience on the 2012 New Richmond boys tennis team showed immediately and quite clearly in the Tigers’ opening weekend of matches.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The lack of varsity experience on the 2012 New Richmond boys tennis team showed immediately and quite clearly in the Tigers’ opening weekend of matches.
The Tigers opened their season with a home match against Menomonie last Thursday. The Tigers won the top three flights of singles, where they had experienced players returning, but couldn’t win any other flights in a 4-3 loss to the Mustangs.
On Saturday the Tigers played in a tournament at Eau Claire Memorial. In most years the competition in this tournament is pretty steep for the Tigers. In this case, the Tigers were simply overmatched, winning one of the 21 matches they played against Memorial, Verona and La Crosse Central.
The inexperience on the team was compounded last week by several factors, including spring break, that limited player availability. That forced 12th year Tiger coach Mike Montello to go deep into his junior varsity roster to fill the varsity lineup. Montello tried to focus on the bright side of the situation.
“Due to availability constraints, younger players are getting a rare opportunity to gain varsity experience, and that will help them accelerate their development,” he said.
The wins against Menomonie came from three players who all have at least one full season of experience in the varsity lineup. Junior Isaiah Hobbs is starting the season in the one singles slot and he was able to control the action in a 6-0, 6-2 win against Menomonie.
Seniors Pat Holland and Charlie Kleiner earned the wins at two and three singles, respectively. Holland struggled to find consistency in his shots, but he never stopped battling, pulling out a 7-6, 7-5 win. Kleiner used an effective serve to set up his attack in a 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 win at three singles.
The four singles and one doubles matches both went to three sets. Junior Dustin Reed showed excellent aggressiveness in his first varsity match, winning the first set at four doubles.
Seniors Ben Johnston and Lars Poppy were playing far more experienced opponents at two doubles, but were able to pull out a 6-2 win in the second set.
Holland earned the Tigers’ only victory on Saturday. In the two doubles match against La Crosse Central, Holland had to battle back several times to capture a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 win. Holland trailed 5-4 in the third set, but got the match to a tie-breaker, which he won 7-4.
The Tigers play in another challenging tournament this Saturday when they play at La Crosse Central. Montello said he would rather play difficult opposition at the start of the season to get the Tigers ready as quickly as possible for the Middle Border Conference season. The Tigers’ conference schedule begins on April 19, when they host Amery.
Menomonie 4, New Richmond 3
No. 1: Isaiah Hobbs (NR)def. Carl Ohvall 6-2, 6-0
No. 2: Pat Holland (NR) def. Kevin Weimer 7-6 (9-7), 7-5
No. 3: Charlie Kleiner (NR) def. Shao Yang 7-5, 5-7, 6-1
No. 4: Richard Stewart (M) def. Dustin Reed 5-7, 6-0, 6-2
No. 1: Dexter Chronis and Cody Sandberg (M) def. Ben Johnston and Lars Poppy 6-0, 4-6, 6-0
No. 2: Chis Pabich and Kevin Challe (M) def. Adrian Harvieux and Casey Turnipseed 6-2, 6-4
No. 3: Austen Nelson and Seth Kralewski (M) def. River Simpson and Vitaliy Gutsal 6-2, 6-0