The Boonville Pirates tennis team got beat twice Tuesday night at home against the Kirksville Tigers in NCMC action at the high school tennis courts.
Aside from losing the match 7-6, the Pirates also lost due to a tie-break rule by the conference which states that when two teams are tied after singles and doubles that the team winning two of the three matches in doubles at the No. 1-3 spots is declared the winner.
“Unfortunately we didn't look as strong in doubles as we had hoped and it made the difference in the overall score, but we saw really good development in our singles play and in the toughness of the doubles teams,” said Boonville tennis coach Stephanie Green. “The losing matches were close and the guys really worked on a lot of things we've been talking about in practice. This is the closest we've played Kirksville in at least four years and we're really proud of what we accomplished against a traditionally heavy hitting and seasoned team.”
While the Pirates dominated Kirksville in singles, winning four out of six matches, the Tigers prevailed in that many matches in doubles to force a tie.
Of course it didn’t look good early on for Boonville as Kirksville won both the No. 1 and 2 singles matches to go up 2-0. At No. 1 singles, Philip Udinyiwe lost to Rusian Pultz 10-0. Meanwhile, at No. 2 singles, Joshua Udinyiwe fell against Aidan Murphy 11-9.
However it was all Boonville after that with four straight wins, with Gio Strickland prevailing over Reza Hamidi 10-2 at the No. 3 spot; Cristian Vivas beating James Hendler 10-7 at the No. 4 position; Luke Rehagen defeating Andrew Bartholomew 10-5 at the No. 5 slot; and Christian Burns winning 11-9 over Garrett Johnson at the No. 6 position.
Green said with the lineup back to normal since Philip Udinyiwe moved into the top spot, it felt like everyone was right where they needed to be and that is exciting going into the rest of our season.
“Josh Udinyiwe played a really tough, close match and it just came down to fixable errors that made the difference in the final three games,” Green said. “Strickland looked very strong and court savvy with his placement and execution of game plan throughout his entire match. Vivas dug in, played smart tennis, moved in to be aggressive with the ball and his finesse was obvious on some many well executed offensive plays. Rehagen broke open after the fifth game and really hit the ball with pace and his service game was very strong.
“Burns pulled out the tying match after being up a game then going down one to 7-8, he stayed the course, showed his athleticism and made some excellent shots to pull ahead again. Overall we were much improved in focus and deliberate in game strategy. It was nice to play a tough competitive team and watch our players interact with Kirksville's in a positive, fun manner on and off the court.”
In doubles, Kirksville flipped the switch against Boonville by winning matches at the No. 1, 2, 4 and 6 positions.
The only victories for the Pirates came at the No. 3 and 6 positions, with the team of Rehagen and Burns beating Bartholomew and Johnson 10-5 and Noah Kelley and Christian Kosnopfal winning 11-9 over Luca Tornatore and Pierce Miletich.
In other matches in doubles, the No. 4 team of Jordan Weaver and Gabe Rumbaoa lost to the team of John Thomas and Miles Krusniak 10-7 while the No. 5 team of Morgan Browning and Tyler Polk fell to the team of Charles Fraser and Matthew Jackson 10-6.
Green said Rehagen and Burns finally gelled and were able to make some impressive plays covering the court. “Kelly and Kosnopfal showed some confidence and as young players really stayed focused and together as they went into a close situation,” Green said.
In JV action, Kirksville recorded wins in five out of six matches.
Recording the only win for Boonville was the No. 2 doubles team of Josh Joiner and Ethan VanDyke over Noah Walker and Vedant Patil 8-2.
In other matches, Landon Weaver and Dylan Bennett fell at the No. 1 position 8-4; Phoenix Price and Tyler Weieldorfer fell 6-2; Eli Bechtel and Shelby Ashpaugh fell 6-2; Caleb Shay and Dalton Pannell fell 6-0; and Andrew Matteson and Charlie Pumel fell 6-0.