Coming off a hardfought victory against BCC, the RM boys varsity tennis team looked to extend their winning streak to a third game over the top ranked Churchill Bulldogs. Despite fighting hard, the team only won a single match, dropping their first game of the season 1-6. Yet, instead of wallowing in their loss, the boys viewed it as motivation to practice harder and come back strong on Wednesday against the struggling Damascus Hornets.
Although they hoped to pull off the upset, the squad realized the immense odds that they would have to overcome. They had lost to the Bulldogs 0-7 last year, and this year their opponents appeared to be just as strong as ever.
“Churchill is the best team in the county, no doubt about it,” said junior Shoham Ghosh. “They’ll be very hard to beat.”
Just as they expected and feared, the Bulldogs came into the match with the intent to win every point. From the very start, it became clear that the team would have to dig deep in order to find the win.
Unfortunately, by the end of the first five matches, the boys were already down 0-5 and victory was out of reach. Frustrated, first singles sophomore Justin Song expressed disappointment at his quick 1-6 2-6 loss. “I did not play good today at all. I got down early and was never able to recover,” he stated.
Third singles, fourth singles, first doubles, and second doubles faced a similar predicament, all dropping two quick sets as well.
The team finally received their first match win two hours in from third doubles sophomore Matthew Kolodner and freshman Michael Pan. Playing their best tennis in every point, the two teams went neck and neck in the first set up until the eleventh game. Hitting multiple passing shot winners, Pan managed to secure a key break to take the first set.
Bitter about this setback, the Churchill duo entered the second set swinging, determined not to give up a match. Yet, with a climactic overhead on the last point, Kolodner sealed the win for RM 7-5 6-4. “Michael and I fought really hard today. It was tough, but we didn’t give up and pulled through in the end,” Kolodner explained.
Unfortunately, second singles sophomore Matt Kleiman was not as fortunate. Despite clawing back from a first set loss, Kleiman began to falter in the decider. Defeated by his opponent’s better consistency, he fell 2-6 6-2 2-6.
Even though they only managed to clinch one match win, Coach Fahrner and the team were not discouraged by this sole bad performance. “When we came in we were a good team, and now we’re a still a good team,” emphasized Coach Fahrner. “They were just better.”
To co-captain junior Oheneba Boateng, this match acted as an especially strong motivator to train harder. “This is just what happens when you don’t practice for three days going into an important match,” admitted Boateng. “Today was bad, but I’m going to come back better.”
Frustrated, but still determined, the Rockets will head over to Damascus on Wednesday and try to bounce back from their tough loss.
Featured photo by Orrin Ni