Tomah High School boys tennis tennis coach Andrew Johnson said his team has been “roughing it” through a series of cold, raw outdoor practices.
They paid off Tuesday.
The Timberwolves were more than prepared for temperatures that hovered below 40 degrees as they defeated Black River Falls 7-0 in their season opener Tuesday at LaGrange Elementary School. The opener was pushed back five days after an April 5 dual at Reedsburg and an April 7 quadrangular at Madison Memorial were snowed out.
Johnson said his players were ready for the harsh, but dry, conditions Tuesday.
“We’ve been roughing it outside during practice, so this prepared us for the challenging playing conditions,” Johnson said.
Black River Falls came closest to victory at the bottom half of singles, where Aaron Honish overcame a loss in the first set of number-three singles to defeat Mitchell Iverson. It was the first varsity match for Honish, a sophomore who played exclusively junior varsity last season.
“He has shaken up our lineup the most and he proved tonight why he’s a great tennis player,” Johnson said.
Johnson said Honish was “angry” after losing the first set 6-4. In the second set, Johnson said Honish “shifted that anger into determination and went up fast” to take a 5-2 lead en route to winning the set 6-4. He won the third set 6-0.
“This was a defining match for Aaron already this season ... and it’s only his first match,” Johnson said.
Evan Lord made his debut at number-four singles after playing varsity doubles last season. He prevailed 6-2, 6-4 against Adrian Clayson, who was “solid with his slice shots that kept tripping Evan up.” Johnson said Lord eventually “got a handle on it” to put the match away.
Noah Nick and Luke Grygleski easily won at number-one and number-two singles, while the returning doubles team of Jarrett Knoepker and Dylen Pierce made their debut at the number-one spot with a decisive victory. Johnson said his top doubles team “came out swinging.”
“They were a little nervous to start but did an excellent job for one of their first matches at one doubles,” Johnson said. “As the match went, they got better and better especially as Jarett’s serves improved. They are off to a solid start this year.”
Also getting victories for the Timberwolves were the number-two doubles team of Jim Kelley and Caleb McNutt and the number-three doubles team of Andy Valest and Tyler Dechant.
“I am happy with this solid start,” Johnson said. “This is why we work so hard at practice and suffer through the cold weather.”
Tomah also racked up eight junior varsity victories. Zach Jorgensen, Mason Morphey, Daniel Swanson and Jaron Kostka won in singles, while the double teams of Morphey/Kostka, Collin Dowson/Max Caveness, Sam Burbah/Cody Huff and Dalton Jewell/Connor Eirschele gained victories.
Tomah’s nonconference match against Reedsburg was rescheduled for April 12. The Timberwolves return home Tuesday, April 17 for a nonconference match against Winona Cotter starting at 4:30 p.m. at LaGrange Elementary School.