Early in a match against Rochester Mayo May 2, Minnetonka High tennis coach Dave Stearns could see that his team would have to be at its best.
Mayo jumped to a lead in first singles, which is often the barometer in any match between two good teams. Both Minnetonka and Mayo entered the match with spotless season records. The Skippers were 6-0 to Mayo’s 7-0. Although the Skippers did lose at first singles, they used their depth to earn a 5-2 victory that kept their undefeated season intact.
“Mayo is a very good team,” said Stearns. “We had to earn it. The good thing about our guys is that they’re getting better every match. We are getting close to filling out our lineup. Third doubles is usually the last spot to fill, and that is the spot we’re looking at.”
Sebastian Vile, Mayo’s talented first singles player, took the advantage early in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Minnetonka’s No. 1, junior Ben Wheaton.
“Sebastian played very, very well,” said Stearns.
Ahmed Atayev, Minnetonka’s No. 2, beat Mayo’s Charles Bengtson, 6-1, 6-4, and the Skippers also had an easy win at No. 3 with sophomore Matthew Kregness schooling Joseph Vlahakis, 6-0, 6-0. Tonka’s fourth singles player, Kevin Thomas, won a 6-2, 6-1 decision over Avanish Misra.
In a highly competitive first doubles match, brothers Carter and Trevor Smiley of Tonka beat Sam Morgenthaler and Simon Kennel, 6-4, 7-5.
Minnetonka’s second doubles team of Jacob Stork and Frank Stich eased past Matt Viozzi and Pujan Patel, 6-1, 6-2. The Skippers lost at third doubles, where Alex Lopez and Nick Stan took down Adam Thompson and Christian Lund, 6-0, 6-4.
The day after the match with Mayo, the Skippers put it all together and beat Maple Grove 7-0.
Wheaton had an impressive bounce-back win, beating Sam Hochenberger. Wheaton took the first set 6-3 before Hochenberger retired with an injury during the second set.
“Ben played at a high level,” said Stearns.
Atayev made quick work of his opponent at No. 2 in a 6-0, 6-0 win. Kregness followed suit with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 3, and then Thomas made it a singles sweep with a 6-0, 6-2 victory at No. 4.
The Smiley brothers needed a rally in their match. They lost the first set 6-3, but fired back to win the last two sets, 6-0 and 6-1.
Stork and Stich were in good form, winning their second doubles match, 6-1, 6-2.
Lund and Ryan Bot posted an impressive 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 3 doubles.
Contact John Sherman at [email protected]