The Rolla tennis team opened their season with matches against West Plains and School of the Osage. The Bulldogs got rained out during their match against West Plains on Friday, March 16, but the rain came after the Bulldogs swept doubles for a 3-0 win. Their first full match came at Osage on Tuesday, where Rolla held on for a 5-4 win.
The Bulldogs kicked off their match against Osage with a great start in doubles. Blake Riedle and Ethan Walker had the first win of the night when they beat Grant Naudet and Mitchell Turner 8-4. Josiah Homan and Jacob Lenox took the win at number three doubles, beating Anthony Floyd and Steven Crosby 8-6. Micah Martin and Monty Jawad fell at number two doubles 8-5 to Logan Havner and Hunter Albers.
Singles came down to a few great matches, as two of them came down to tiebreakers. Riedle went into a tiebreaker with Naudet, losing 7-4 to fall in the match 9-8. Homan's match at number five saw similar results, as Homan lost the tiebreaker to Floyd 9-7, losing the match 9-8. Rolla cruised to an 8-0 victory by Joel Schott at number six singles and also earned a win at number two by Walker, who beat Havner 8-4. Jawad lost to Albers 8-5, which locked the match up at four with one to left to finish up. Martin faced off against Turner in the final match of the night and held on for a 9-7 to clinch Rolla's first official win of the season.
"Towards the end, he got frustrated, I just pulled out and kept hitting good shots and playing smart," said Martin of his match-deciding win. "Honestly, I didn't know we were tied at that point, so it felt good not to know that."
Head coach Joe Schisler was happy to see his team knock off some rust to pull out their first full win of the year.
"Lots of rust out there and lots of tiebreaks tonight. We knew it would be close. I think last year we won 5-4 and there were tiebreaks in every match," said coach Schisler. "It's one of the reasons we like playing these guys.
"This was an interesting and impressive win," continued the Rolla head coach. "Both teams are in very similar situations playing young players in positions vacated by seniors. We always love this match on the schedule because SOTO is so well coached and prepared. These tough early matches make us better. Thursday will be a big challenge with Waynesville."
The Bulldogs will stay on the road, as they'll head to Waynesville for that match on Thursday, March 22.