The Rolla tennis team took part in their District Tournament this week. The Bulldogs kicked things off with an easy win over Hillcrest on Monday, before facing Lebanon on Tuesday. Rolla won their previous two matchups with Lebanon, but couldn't pull off the season sweep, as they fell 5-4.
The Bulldogs had a pretty easy matchup to open the week, as Hillcrest only brought four players. Those four players were Hillcrest's four, five, six and seven players, so the deck was stacked in Rolla's favor. The Bulldogs started the match automatically up 3-0 before starting doubles play. The match never made it to singles, as Rolla's pairings of Pranal Madria/Micah Martin and Joel Schott/Owen Akins each won 8-0.
With the win, the third seeded Bulldogs faced off against the second seed, Lebanon. In each of Rolla's previous two matches with Lebanon, they were able to take two of the three doubles matches. They did that again on Tuesday to get out to a solid start. Schott and Martin paired up at number two to beat Zach Stubblefield and Nate Smith 8-3. Josiah Homan and Akins had a tougher match at number three, but pulled out an 8-5 win over Kyle Maynor and Grant Weaver. Madria and Ethan Wang fell 8-2 at number one.
The race to the fifth point in singles started with Lebanon tying the match, as Madria fell to Bryson Crowell 6-1, 6-0. Schott gave the advantage back to Rolla with a two set win over Stubblefield. Martin had a tough three set match, winning the first set 6-1, before dropping the next two 4-6, 4-6 to tie the match again. Homan followed with a win over Maynor 6-2, 6-2. Akins gave Rolla a strong chance at number five. After dropping the first set 3-6, he fought hard in the second set, which came down to a tiebreaker. Unfortunately, Weaver won the tiebreaker for Lebanon to again tie the match at four. Rolla then lost the match, as Wang fell to Nate Smith 0-6, 3-6.
"I am very proud of the way our kids competed. They have come a long way in a short time as tennis players and demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship, team unity, integrity, and personal investment. I could not ask for more. Hats off to Lebanon," said head coach Joe Schisler. "This was a fantastic match with two athletic and well-trained teams. In the end I felt like they had a little more in the tank and that the home court home crowd advantage got them over the top. I know both teams left respecting each other and wishing the other well. It is unfortunate that three schools voted for us above Lebanon but that the two Springfield votes got Lebanon the higher seed. A day off yesterday and a home match may or may not have turned around this very close match. Our kids did a great job working with the cards they were dealt and making the best of it. Another of life’s valuable lessons, I suppose."
Rolla will take part in individual Districts in Springfield on Friday, May 10.