There wasn’t much challenge for the New Richmond boys tennis team when the Tigers played their Middle Border Conference opener last Tuesday.
The Tigers were tested much more severely when they played in a tournament at La Crosse on Saturday.
In their MBC opener, the Tigers hosted Osceola last Tuesday. Osceola is an extremely young and inexperienced team and the Tigers were able to sweep the Chieftains, 7-0. The Tigers won 84 of the 87 games that were played in the match. They didn’t lose a game in the three doubles matches that were played.
The competition was much more severe when the Tigers played three matches at different locales in La Crosse on Saturday. The first opponent was Waunakee, one of the stronger tennis programs from the Madison area. Waunakee was able to score a 6-1 win over the Tigers. The Tigers’ win came at three doubles, where senior Kyle McKibben and freshman Stuart Pearson combined for a three-set win.
Waunakee had two players with state tournament experience in the lineup. The one singles match was a clash of two players with state tournament experience in New Richmond’s Nick Bradish and Waunakee’s Joey Schneider, both seniors. Schneider jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first set, but Bradish rallied to tie the match at 5-5. Schneider eventually won the set 7-6. Schneider then won the second set 6-0.
Waunakee’s Jack McCarthy also competed at state last year. He was part of the one doubles team that beat New Richmond’s Mitch Giannini and Vitaliy Gutsal 6-0, 6-1.
In the second round of the tournament the Tigers faced a familiar non-conference opponent in Menomonie. The Tigers and Mustangs seem to always have close matches and this was another, with the Mustangs winning, 4-3.
The Tigers scored wins in the first three completed matches. Bradish scored a 6-0, 6-1 win at one singles. The Tigers also recorded quick wins in the top two singles flights. Jack Hop and Vitaliy Gutsal were 6-1, 6-2 winners at one doubles. Sam Hagen and Logan Dadez came through at two doubles with a 6-2, 6-4 win.
Menomonie got decisive wins at two singles and three singles, meaning the match hinged on the four singles and three doubles results. Both matches went to three sets, with Menomonie winning the third sets.
The Tigers moved across town to La Crosse Central for their third match of the day. Knowing that Central’s team wasn’t as strong this season, Tiger coach Mike Montello switched some players across the singles and doubles lineups. The Tigers were still able to complete a 6-1 win. The Tigers got singles wins from Bradish, Dadez and Pearson, while sweeping all three doubles matches.
Montello said the “game ball” went to Dadez, who lost his opening set at three singles 6-1, before rallying to win his final two sets.
The Tigers now have a week between matches. They don’t play again until next Tuesday, when they host Amery.
New Richmond 7, Osceola 0
No. 1: Nick Bradish (NR) def. Zach Claassen 6-0, 6-0
No. 2: Casey Turnipseed (NR) def. Austin Peckman 6-1, 6-0
No. 3: Mitch Giannini (NR) def. Nick Benoy 6-2, 6-0
No. 4: Russ Hop (NR) def. Jake Backes 6-0, 6-0
No. 1: Jack Hop and Vitaliy Gutsal (NR) def. William Guenther and Paul Willett 6-0, 6-0
No. 2: Sam Hagen and Logan Dadez (NR) def. Cole Rennaker and Mitch Ogren 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Kyle McKibben and Stuart Pearson (NR) def. Jon Rein and Cody Struemke 6-0, 6-0