Netters sweep RF InviteThe Wildcat boys’ tennis team picked up a little momentum heading into the final week of the regular season by sweeping all three of its matches against Durand, South St. Paul and Menomonie at the inaugural River Falls Invitational Saturday, May 5.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The Wildcat boys’ tennis team picked up a little momentum heading into the final week of the regular season by sweeping all three of its matches against Durand, South St. Paul and Menomonie at the inaugural River Falls Invitational Saturday, May 5.
The Cats hosted Eau Claire North Tuesday and will visit Chippewa Falls Thursday, May 10, before the Big Rivers Conference Tournament Saturday, May 12, in Chippewa Falls.
“Eau Claire North and Chippewa are both teams we can compete with,” Wildcat coach David Markson said. “And I hope this weekend's success can carry forward.”
Last Saturday the Cats beat Durand, 7-0, and South St. Paul, 5-2, before avenging a loss to Menomonie earlier this season with a 4-3 victory.
The Cats had some contributions from the top of their JV lineup, with Joe Kagan and Nick Jubie picking up wins at No. 3 and No. 4 singles, respectively, and Alex Haskins and Tom Fusilier winning at No. 2 doubles.
Haskins and Fusilier went on to push Menomonie’s No. 1 doubles team before losing, 4-6, 4-6, before beating South St. Paul, 4-6, 6-2 (10-5).
In the 5-2 victory over South St. Paul, coached by former Wildcat assistant Dan Erickson, River Falls’ only losses came at No. 1 and No. 4 singles.
Drew Tonsager moved from No. 1 singles to No. 2 and posted a tense 0-6, 7-5 (10-3) victory while Alex Huset won easily, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 3.
Senior captains Chris Scott and Jack Kilian battled from behind to take a 3-6, 6-4,(10-7) win at No. 1 doubles and Orville Black made his varsity debut alongside No. 2 doubles partner Zach Ambur to post a 7-5, 6-0 victory. Richard Leber and Evan Schumacher earned a 6-3, 7-5 win at No. 3 doubles.
Against Menomonie, a team the Cats had lost to 5-2 three weeks ago, River Falls swept the doubles play and got a thrilling 6-3, 3-6, (10-6) from Charlie Shafer at No. 1 singles to pull out the 4-3 victory.
“In the deciding super-tiebreak -- with the match on the line and everyone watching -- Charlie won 5 straight points from a 4-4 score to take command at 9-4 and eventually win 10-6,” Markson said. “It was easily the boys' finest hour of the season.”
Markson said Shafer has been a surprise since moving into the No. 1 singles slot Saturday, and he said Tonsager should benefit from playing more at No. 2 singles.
“Charlie has been a real surprise and I'm confident the team will be more competitive with him shouldering the task of playing at No. 1,” Markson said. “His style is a bit unorthodox, but he is steady, smart and has great heart and hustle. Drew will be more relaxed at No. 2, as will Sid Young at No. 3-- they both are susceptible to the pressure of playing at the top of the line-up.”
Markson said the play of Black and Leber, as well as doubles partners Haskins and Fusilier, will make for some hard lineup decision as the season winds down.
“It makes one wish the varsity matches weren't limited to four singles and three doubles matches,” he said. “But it bodes well for the future of River Falls tennis, as we will only be graduating three seniors.”