New Richmond boys tennis team reaches critical pointThe first loss in Middle Border Conference play on Friday showed that the New Richmond boys tennis team is teetering on which direction it will head for the rest of the season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The first loss in Middle Border Conference play on Friday showed that the New Richmond boys tennis team is teetering on which direction it will head for the rest of the season.
The Tigers won their first three MBC matches of the season against teams that weren’t expected to be title contenders (Ellsworth, Altoona and Durand).
On Friday the Tigers faced the first of the upper tier MBC opponents and the Tigers didn’t rise to the challenge. Amery won the top two flights in singles and doubles to defeat the Tigers 4-3.
The Tigers were scheduled two play more of the MBC title contenders in Baldwin-Woodville and Eau Claire Regis this week. Tiger coach Mike Montello said the team will need better play to beat those opponents.
“We need to get our bearings and very soon,” Montello said. “I knew this (Amery) would be a competitive match and I felt we should have won.”
Montello said he was aware Amery would be favored at one singles, where defending conference champion Jesse Olson topped Nick Bradish in Bradish’s first match of the season, 6-2, 6-3.
It was at two singles and the top two doubles spots that Montello said he thinks his players can achieve more than they showed against Amery. Isaiah Hobbs lost 6-2, 6-2 in the two singles match. Charlie Kleiner and Pat Holland were defeated 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the one doubles match. Ben Johnston and Jordy Kvam couldn’t finish off a 4-1 lead in the third set of the two doubles match, losing 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).
The Tiger wins were produced by Jack Hop at three singles, Dustin Reed at four singles and the team of Lars Poppy and Adrian Harvieux at three doubles. Hop won by injury default. Montello said the other two wins were the result of solid, smart play.
The night before the loss to Amery, the Tigers didn’t need to be at their best against Durand. Durand had eight players, many of them small and inexperienced players. The Tigers recorded a 7-0 sweep.
Five of Durand’s eight players were freshmen and the Panthers offered very little competition. Durand forfeited the three doubles match and won just five games in the other six matches that were played.
Montello said the Tigers showed good focus against Durand and he was hopeful that it could carry over into Friday’s match with Amery. Hobbs, Hop, Reed and Poppy were winners on the singles side. Kleiner and Holland won 6-1, 6-1 against Durand’s most experienced players at one doubles and Johnston and Kvam scored a 6-0, 6-2 win at two doubles.
The Tigers came through with three wins from the singles lineup to get an important win against Altoona last Tuesday, 4-3.
Holland, Johnston and Reed scored wins in the two, three and four singles flights. Holland had an up-and-down match, winning the first set 6-3, then dropping the second set 6-0. The third set was a battle, with Holland staying tough to get the 7-5 decision. Johnston had his best performance of the season in his first singles match, winning 6-4, 6-2.
“Ben has an unconventional style and he works extremely hard when he plays,” Montello said.
Reed has become a consistent producer at the bottom of the singles lineup, winning 6-1, 6-3.
The win on the doubles side was earned by Harvieux and Casey Turnipseed in the three doubles match, 6-2, 6-3. This might have been the performance that impressed Montello most.
“My pair played sharp. We served well, had good positioning, good communication and committed a minimal number of unforced errors,” he said.
The rapid-fire Tiger schedule continues Thursday with a match at Eau Claire Regis. The Tigers will play at home on Saturday, hosting Amery, Altoona and Baldwin-Woodville in the Tigers’ annual quad meet. The Tigers complete their conference dual meet schedule next Tuesday when they host Osceola. The MBC tournament will be played a week later, on May 15, on the NRHS courts.
New Richmond 4, Altoona 3
No. 1: Michael Barr (A) def. Isaiah Hobbs 6-3, 6-0
No. 2: Pat Holland (NR) def. Jason Kent 6-3, 0-6, 7-5
No. 3: Ben Johnston (NR) def. Connor Hanson 6-4, 6-2
No. 4: Dustin Reed (NR) def. Matt Berry 61-, 6-3
No. 1: Zach Valk and Braden Olson (A) def. Charlie Kleiner and Jack Hop 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
No. 2: Brady Kaiser and Alex Weber (A) def. Jordy Kvam and Lars Poppy 6-0, 6-1
No. 3: Adrian Harvieux and Casey Turnipseed (NR) def. Tony Hoehn and Alex Dye 6-2, 6-3