School of the Osage tennis coach Scott Blacksher knew that having a six-person team would have disadvantages throughout the season, but the lack of depth didn't hold the Indians back in a 7-2 win against the team from Smith-Cotton Tuesday afternoon.
Osage took five of the six singles matches. Osage's top player, junior Thomas Uhl, handily defeated Sedalia's top player, Logan Fluty, 10-0. Number two junior Adam Keith beat Andrew Tilley 10-4, Ryan Curran toppled Noah Shepard 10-0, senior Garrett Grasshoff beat Aaron Walters 10-2 and freshman Jordan Wilson took a 10-1 win over Sam Stucker.
In doubles, the Indians won two of the three matches. Uhl/Keith defeated Fluty/Tiller 10-1 and Curran/Wilson defeated Shepard/Stucker 10-1.
For the Indians, a talented top of the lineup provides stability for the team, which would have to forfeit matches if any one of the players could not make it to a match.
"My one, two and three [players] are better than last year," Blacksher said.
The top three players — Uhl, Keith and Curran — have won almost every match they've played, including sweeping wins against the Rolla team April 2. The Indians dropped that match 4-5.
Blacksher said that for Osage to be competitive in matches, the experience of the top players must translate to wins in dual matches — which has so far in the 2013 season. But he also said not to count out two inexperienced freshmen on the team.
"Even though they're inexperienced, they have every chance to win some matches," Blacksher said about Jordan Wilson and Adam Schoening. He praised the athleticism of the pair and their willingness to work hard.
While Osage might lack in sheer number of players, Blacksher said that from a coaching perspective, that could be considered an advantage.
"One of the advantages is I get to work with every kid," he said. He said the individual instruction allows him to work on technique skills specific to each player, which allows the younger players to advance faster.
Above all, Blacksher said the team is improving and having fun while doing so.
"I have a fun group of guys and we're getting better," he said.
Osage tennis will next face Waynesville April 15 at the Four Seasons Raquet Club.
Osage v. Smith-Cotton
1. Thomas Uhl (O) def. Logan Fluty (S-C) 10-0
2. Adam Keith (O) def. Andrew Tilley (S-C) 10-4
3. Ryan Curran (O) def. Noah Shepard (S-C) 10-0
4. Garrett Grasshoff (O) def. Aaron Walters (S-C) 10-2
5. Jordan Wilson (O) def. Sam Stucker (S-C) 10-1
6. Matt Strouse (S-C) def. Adam Schoening (O) 10-5
1. Uhl/Keith (O) def. Fluty/Tilley (S-C) 10-1
Page 2 of 2 - 2. Curran/Wilson (O) def. Shepard/Stucker (S-C) 10-1
3. Walters/Strouse (S-C) def. Grasshoff/Schoening (O) 10-6
The Lakers tennis team, coming off a four-win week last week, fell to Bolivar Monday in a close 4-5 match. Winners were number one Luc Ginoux 8-0, number two Connor Burton 8-3 and the doubles teams of Ginoux/Burton 8-2 and Ryan Elliott/C.J. Borden 9-8(3).
The team rebounded on Tuesday, securing their fifth win of the season with a 7-2 showing over Richland. Ginoux, Burton, Seth Hamilton, Elliott and Borden all won in singles matches. The doubles teams of Ginoux/Hamilton and Burton/Theo Bushnell took home victories.
The Lakers play at Hillcrest Friday. Coach Kirk Richey said this will be the first big test for senior Luc Ginoux, who has yet to lose a match this season.