The Rolla tennis team wrapped up their regular season with a pair of trips to Jefferson City on Wednesday and Thursday, April 24-25. They started with a 7-2 loss to Jeff City on Wednesday, before falling 6-1 in a weather shortened match against Helias on Thursday.
Rolla had their hands full with perennial tennis power Jeff City on Wednesday. The Bulldogs were able to take one of the three doubles matches to open the night, as the duo of Micah Martin and Owen Akins pulled out an 8-5 win at number two. Pranal Madria and Joel Schott fell at number one 8-3, while Josiah Homan and Ethan Wang lost by the same score at number three.
The Bulldogs had a number of great matches in singles, but couldn't quite finish some close matches. The most dominant Rolla win of the night came at number six, where Akins won 8-0. Schott had an excellent match at number two, but fell 9-8 after losing a tiebreaker with Alut Krishnadas 8-6. Wang had another strong match at number four, but fell to Ben Foltz8-6. Martin had similar results at number three, where he fell to Alec Krumm 8-5. Homan fell 8-1 at number five, while Madria lost 8-0 at number one.
Rolla had JV wins from Jacob Lenox, Cody Needly and the doubles team of Lenox and Evan Barth.
"This was a good competitive match with the Jays. We started slowly or we may have made it interesting," said Rolla head coach Joe Schisler. "In singles we were really close at numbers two , three, four and we won at six. I think we had leads in two of those three matches and if we convert on those opportunities we have a great match. I am proud that this group just keeps taking steps forward to get better. We just really want to bring our most competitive games every night and enjoy the season."
Rolla then made the trip back to Jeff City the next day for a rainy match with Helias. The match also had a different format, as doubles was eight game pro sets, while singles was best of three sets.
The Bulldogs couldn't come up with a win in doubles, but had solid matches. Martin and Owens fell to John Loehr and Andy Cuse 8-4 at number two, while Madria and Schott fell to Jacob Schepers and Jacob Crowley at number one. Wang and Homan fell 8-0.
Rolla and Helias didn't finish all of their matches in singles, but had good competition across the board. Wang earned Rolla's long win at number four, winning the first set 6-4, before Cuse retired with the second set tied at four. Akins lost a close match 4-6, 4-6, while Homan fell 3-6, 4-6. Martin lost 4-6, 0-6, while numbers one and two were not completed. Madria dropped his first set to Schepers 3-6 and their second set was tied at six and play was suspended before the tie break began. Schott lost his first set to Cowley 5-7 and trailed 1-4 in the second set when play was suspended.
"This is a fitting end to a great regular season. I think the boys are all fairly tired out and need a day or two of rest and recovery. They worked through some nerves these last two day against quality opponents, and learned we just aren’t quite there yet," said coach Schisler. "I can see the fatigue on them, especially tonight. It was a quick turn around with two trips to Jeff City in two days. The soaking rain was just kind of nice end to the regular season. The guys were a little slap happy on the ride home. We have great attitudes, athletes, and work ethic. It is just a matter of getting more experience and learning how to manage matches and emotions. I hope the hard work these guys have put in pays off as we wrap up the season with the conference tournament, Waynesville Tournament, Individual District, and Team Districts."
Rolla will take part in the Ozark Conference Tournament on Tuesday, April 30, before playing in the rescheduled Waynesville Tournament later in the week. District play will begin for Rolla on Monday, May 6.