The Rolla tennis team has had a busy start to their week with a match against Jefferson City on Monday, April 17 before playing in the West Plains Invitational on Tuesday. The Bulldogs fell 8-1 to Jeff City before winning the invitational.
Rolla's lone win against Jeff City came from Pranal Madria when he beat Jarod Henry 7-5, 0-6, 10-5 (third set super tiebreak). The remainder of the matches looked rough on the scoreboard, but they lost several deuce games on their way to losses in the other five singles matches and all three doubles matches.
They had a quick turnaround with the West Plains Invitational the next day and they played extremely well. The tournament was formatted with two singles players and two doubles teams for each school.
The best finishes for Rolla were in doubles, as both of their doubles teams won their flights. Nick Roshan matched up with Madria in Flight A doubles and the two were seeded second. They beat Houston's top pair of Kelly and Todd 8-1 too open things up. They then shut out the third seeded pair of Cook and Stein from West Plains 8-0. They faced Coker and Stanford of Forsythe in the finals, earning an 8-3 win. Ethan Walker and Blake Riedle were then paired up for Flight B as the third seed. After beating the pair of Buse and Ramsey of Houston 8-2, they beat the second seeded Pilkington and Terry of Salem 8-5. They then beat Forsythe's Geth and Hall in the final 8-2.
The Bulldogs finished in fourth place in each of the flights for singles. Drew Jones was in Flight A and started with a 9-7 win over Logan-Rogersville's Ethan Potter. He then was forced to face off against the top seeded and eventual champion Matt Coatney of Liberty, losing 8-1. He then lost the third place match to Salem's Eric Wood. Haris Zahoor was the third seed in Flight B and led off with a win over Liberty's Eli Woolsey 8-3. He then lost to eventual champion Jacob Stacy of Hillcrest 8-4, before losing the third place match to the top seeded Ryan Christopher of Logan-Rogersville.
All of the placements were crucial, as Rolla beat Forsyth as a team by just two points, 26-24.
"Both results were very positive for RHS. Despite the lopsided score with Jefferson City, we played well, winning games and forcing many deuce games, and then winning at number three. The West Plains Invitational is a great result for these guys hard work. Our singles players really played well and could have fared better. The points they got were huge for us to be able to win the overall team trophy.
Doubles was simply amazing. The two championship matches went on at the very end. We needed to win both to secure the team trophy because of the way points were awarded," said head coach Joe Schisler. "Both teams played very disciplined and intelligent tennis to win tough matches. The scores are deceptive; each match had a ton of deuce games. I think on the day we won somewhere around 75 percent of the deuce games. It is great to see this team get some momentum and enjoy the fruits of their labors. They could all hit from day one of practice, but they have kind of learned how to construct some points and play smarter tennis and have a better game inside their head. If they keep improving until Districts, it will be a fun ride for everyone."
The next varsity action will be the Waynesville Tournament on Friday, April 21.