New Richmond tennis suffers narrow Middle Border Conference lossesAll three of the New Richmond boys tennis team’s matches against the other top Middle Border Conference contenders have finished in 4-3 scores, but the Tigers came out on the losing end of all three.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
All three of the New Richmond boys tennis team’s matches against the other top Middle Border Conference contenders have finished in 4-3 scores, but the Tigers came out on the losing end of all three.
Last week the Tigers faced the two leaders in the MBC standings, Baldwin-Woodville and Eau Claire Regis. Both meets ended in 4-3 losses for the Tigers, just as the Tigers’ match against Amery had ended the previous week.
The match against Regis may have been the Tigers’ best overall team performance thus far. Regis is undefeated in the MBC and this was the most challenging match any conference opponent had given the Ramblers.
“This match shows that, as a team, we are as good as the best teams in the conference,” said Tiger coach Mike Montello.
A huge sign of progress against Regis was the Tigers’ win at one doubles, where Charlie Kleiner and Isaiah Hobbs won an exhaustive three-set match. They won the opening set 6-4, but Regis had them spooked after winning the second set 6-0. The Tigers were down 5-4 in the third set, before winning the final three games to earn the victory.
“We played our best match of the year at this flight. We were able to overcome unforced errors and hit some well-placed, good looking shots,” Montello said.
The Tigers got two wins from the singles lineup. Jack Hop and Dustin Reed have been putting together strong performances to make the three and four singles spots quite productive.
Hop lost his first set 6-2. He turned things around in the second set, finishing out with 6-4, 6-0 wins.
“Jack plays with a composure unusual for a freshman,” Montello said.
Reed and his opponent split 6-2 decisions in the first two sets at four singles. The third set was tight the whole way, with Reed prevailing 6-4.
The only Tiger loss that went three sets was the one singles match, where Nick Bradish lost a marathon match against senior Mark Sacia 6-1, 6-7, 4-6. This contest featured two hard hitters who were rearing back and putting all they had behind every shot and every serve. The match lasted 30 minutes longer than any of the other matches.
If you are a fan of close matches, the Tigers’ match at Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday was the one to see. Six of the seven matches went to three sets. B-W only has four courts and this match lasted nearly four hours. To add to the challenge of the match, a strong wind was blowing, making it even more difficult to place shots.
Hop and Reed were winners in the singles matches. Hop lost the first set 7-6. That was just the start of the adventure. He won the second set 7-6. He took the third set 7-5.
“That was as close a match as I have seen in a number of years,” Montello said. “Jack played with great composure against a solid kid.”
Reed started the season as a highly aggressive hitter. He is now learning to mix in a variety of paces on his shots. He opened with a 6-4 win, then lost the second set 6-2. He came back to win in the third set 6-3.
“He is making great progress,” Montello said.
The third win came at two doubles, where Ben Johnston and Jordy Kvam scored a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 win. After overcoming some inconsistency in the second set, the Tigers finished strong to get this win.
The Tigers hosted their annual quad tournament on Saturday. They were able to get matches in against Altoona and Amery before the heavy rain halted play. The Tigers lost to Altoona 5-3 before defeating Amery 7-1.
There were several players who missed parts of the tournament due to participating in the solo-ensemble music competition, which opened up opportunities for several players to get varsity experience.
The two matches completed in the quad meet on Saturday allowed the Tigers to experience victory at every flight. The Tigers went 1-1 at six flights and swept their matches at two flights. Hop moved up to two singles for the tournament and won both of his matches in two sets.
The other sweep came at four doubles. This is used as an exhibition level to give younger players some varsity experience. The Tigers won in three sets in both matches. Connor Earley and Mitch Giannini lost the first set to Altoona before winning 6-4, 10-5 in the final two sets. Giannini and Casey Turnipseed also lost the first set against Amery, then came back to win.
The season is quickly winding down for the Tigers. They will play in a match at Tomah this Saturday. New Richmond will be the host school for the 2012 Middle Border Conference tournament, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. next Tuesday at the New Richmond High School courts.