The Rolla tennis team faced off against Waynesville in the second round of Districts on Tuesday, May 8. The Bulldogs played a great match and were on the verge of a comeback, but Waynesville finished off their fifth win of the night to take down Rolla 5-2.
Every match of the night came down to the wire and that started with doubles. Rolla's lone doubles win came at number two, where Blake Riedle and Ethan Walker beat David Sneed and Aaron Emparato 8-5. The Bulldogs lost their other doubles matches by scores of 8-6. Pranal Madria and Monty Jawad took the tough loss at number one, while Joel Schott and Josiah Homan lost their close match at number three.
Moving on to singles, Rolla needed to make some moves trailing 2-1. Riedle lost in straight sets at number two, but both were close sets in a 4-6, 4-6 loss to Tyler Gayman. Walker then won his match over Cameron Martell 6-4, 6-3 to keep the match close. Micah Martin then took a hard fought loss 4-6, 5-7 at number five, but Rolla wasn't backing down. Jawad was on the verge of a victory at number four, splitting the first two sets 4-6, 7-5 and leading 3-0, when Madria's match at number one sealed the win for Waynesville. Madria fought hard but lost 3-6, 6-0, 4-6. Rolla was also doing well at number six, where Schott split his sets 1-6, 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker) before the match ended in Waynesville's favor 5-2.
This was a great match in every way. It lasted over 3 hours and every set was decided by essentially a single service break," said head coach Joe Schisler after the match. "They did a much better job than us sticking to a plan in doubles at one and three. They were more poised and versatile at one and two and again at five and six. They are a solid team and coach Wilson does a great job with them.
Coach Schisler said that doubles played a huge role in the match, especially because Rolla wasn't quite sure what the Tigers would throw at them.
"(Coach Wilson) also did a great job mixing and matching her doubles line up. Our earlier loss to them kind of put them in the driver seat in that it left us guessing who would play doubles where," said the Rolla head coach. "They won two out of three doubles, and created a hill that was just a little too tall for us climb."
Even with the 2-1 deficit after doubles, Rolla kept fighting and coach Schisler liked what he saw out of his team.
"Madria was the last match off, and had some incredibly long deuce games. I really felt like if he had been able to pull out a tough win, we would have been in the driver seat. Jawad was in control up 3-0 in the third set, and Schott’s opponent appeared tired and uncertain," said coach Schisler. "Our guys competed hard and gave themselves a chance to win against a superior team. I am proud of their effort, and how far they have come this season."
The loss is the end of Rolla's season as a team, but they still have some tennis left to play. They'll travel to Camdenton on Friday for individual Districts.