In the game of tennis nothing can be taken for granted.
School of the Osage hosted their Highway 54 neighbor Camdenton on the tennis courts Wednesday night and every pont proved to be crucial in a 5-4 win for the Indians. Osage got off to a tough start trailing 2-1 after the doubles round, but finished the night out strong in singles competition taking four of six individual matches to seal the victory.
Osage coach Matthew Fuglsang said doubles play has been an issue throughout the season, but he was pleased with the way his team finished.
“It was nice to see our bottom guys pull it up and those younger, less experienced guys pulling out some big wins for us and that is what I am most pleased about,” the coach said after the match. “It is a big confidence booster for some of these guys knowing they can play with some of the bigger schools and they’re just getting better.”
There are a lot of new faces in the Indian lineup this year after the program lost a group of seniors who helped capture four straight district titles and put together a perfect undefeated regular season in 2016. Osage’s Roman Trowbridge was the team’s lone returning starter, but despite the inexperience, the team took another step in the right direction Wednesday night in the journey to maintain that success the program had become accustomed to.
The duo of Kevin Albers and Logan Benedict picked up the lone win in doubles play for Osage winning their match 8-6. In singles play, Grant Naudet beat his opponent 8-3, Albers and Logan Havner picked up 8-5 wins and Benedict earned an 8-6 win respectively.
“It is a young team that is starting to learn the game a little better, play a little better and gain a little more confidence,” Fuglsang noted.
Osage improved to 3-7 on the year with the win and it was the fifth match the Indians had this year that was won or lost by a single point.
“We know we are always going to be in close matches and are not going to blow anybody out 9-0,” Fuglsang remarked. “So we are always going to have to scratch and fight for every match and that is just the way it is.”
Time will tell if the Indians are up to the task.
Things were looking up for Camdenton as the duo of Grant Burton and Drew VanHook grinded out an 8-6 win while the team of Luke Haas and Sid Ketcham earned an 8-4 win in the doubles round. However, it was just Burton and Ketcham who found success individually as Burton picked up a 9-7 win and Ketcham won his match 8-3.
“You cannot give up those points and expect to do well. The middle and bottom of our lineup is where we really hurt today,” said Camdenton assistant coach Ted Houx who was filling in for Head Coach Kirk Richey while he coached the junior varsity in the Lebanon Tournament.
Houx said some players have missed some previous matches due to prior scheduled events so there may have been a little “rust on the joints” as he described it, but if there was anything to take away from Wednesday it is that every point counts. That was especially true for Burton who came back to win after trailing four sets to none.
“They (Camdenton players) watched some of these kids that came down from deficits to come back and win so that has got to be motivating. It is never over until the last point,” he stated. “Sid had a great match at the No. 3 spot and Grant showed that in his singles match. He could have folded easily and he just found his confidence and found his stroke.”
Camdenton (5-4) and Osage will be in tournament action at Waynesville on Friday.