Boys Varsity Tennis
|Willow Springs R-4 High School||1|
Waynesville Tennis stole a win for their senior night, taking Willow Springs, 8-1. Having beat this team 6-3 earlier in the season, we were thankful to see improvement this time. Dropping fast in #3 doubles, the night was looking a little rocky from the start. We picked up the other two doubles matches, however, to take the lead as we moved into singles. With a quick match on court 6, Caleb Andrews whipped his opponent, 8-1, in the fastest match of the night. In addition, Tyler Gayman and Shawn Berrios both had quick matches, each taking 8-2 victories. Then, celebrating senior night in style, (Sr.) David Sneed dominated his opponent 8-0. David is a strong player who has come so far since his freshman year. Very rarely do I get to coach students for all four years. I typically get athletes who have never played tennis before, and most of the time, give tennis zero thought to the game until they are a couple years into high school. Either that, or military students have parents who are called to service in a different location, forcing a full family move either into our district, or out. This year, however, I am fortunate enough to graduate two seniors who have been in our program for four years. I love watching these boys grow and mature in four years. Senior night is a time to reflect on how far they’ve come, and it’s a great coaching moment when you look back and see just how far these guys have come. Sneed picked up the game fast as a freshman, but his game has developed greatly since then. Although his strokes were pretty solid from the beginning, Sneed has worked hard to develop a killer tennis mindset. He is very aggressive, and I’ve really enjoyed watching his playing style change over the years.
Now, knowing we had already taken a team victory, Aarron Emperato and (Sr.) Cameron Martell both had close matches. Cameron trailed his opponent by one game the whole match. Taking a win to tie the match at 8-8, however, Cameron battled in a tiebreaker. Tiebreak winners are typically won by the strongest mind, not necessarily the strongest player. If you reach a tiebreaker, it usually means that you are very closely ranked with your opponent. Tennis is a mind game. Typically, a tiebreaker goes to the player who can play the calmest and smartest. Tonight, Cameron pulled out ahead, 9-8 (7-5). Cameron is probably my most dependable singles player. I rarely have to coach him once he shakes hands on the court. He problem solves well and has very reliable shots. Typically, when I have five other boys on other courts, Cameron is the one I can walk away from and trust that he has things under control. He takes multiple AP classes, works part time, and still remains fully devoted to his team. This kid juggles life well, which will bring him a lot of success in his future as well.
New to tennis this year is (Sr.) Matthew Meyer. Matthew has picked up the sport pretty well. He started coming to some of our winter court days to learn the fundamentals, so he walked in with a little more experience than some of our younger players. He’s done well this season, playing close to the top of our JV lineup. Tonight he took a 6-1 victory in doubles with Tyler Jones.
The Tigers go on to compete in the Conference tournament tomorrow in Springfield to finish out the week. We will compete in District play next week.
David Sneed vs. Benjamin Clarkston, 8-0
Tyler Gayman vs. Eli Moore, 8-2
Cameron Martell vs Landon Rodgers, 9-8 (7-5)
Shawn Berrios vs. Kenneth Traver, 8-2
Aarron Emperato vs. Cody Ward, 8-6
Caleb Andrews, Wesley Clarkston, 8-1
Gayman/Martell vs. B. Clarkston/Moore, 8-2
Sneed/Emperato vs. Rodgers/W. Clarkston, 8-5
Berrios/Andrews vs. Ward/Traver, 5-8