Park boys tennis: Wolfpack ends on high noteThe Park boys tennis team finished a tough five-match week on a high note, defeating non-conference competitors Tartan and St. Paul Como Park.
By: Teresa Townsend, South Washington County Bulletin
The Park boys tennis team finished a tough five-match week on a high note.
The Wolfpack team fell short against Suburban East Conference foes Woodbury, Mounds View, and Roseville, but defeated non-conference competitors Tartan and St. Paul Como Park last week. Park is now 6-7 overall on the year.
Doubles decided the outcome of Monday’s 5-2 loss against Woodbury. Park’s two wins came from freshman Mekdim DeJene and junior Jacob Elliot at No. 1 doubles and sophomore Pele Le at fourth singles. Le won in straight sets after closing out the first 6-4 and winning a tight 7-5 in the second. DeJene and Elliot also won in straight sets; their strong 6-3 start to the match continued to a 6-2 victory in the second set. Close matches in two and three doubles intensified the match. senior Alex Rachner and junior Lucas Lindstrom fell 5-7 in their first set at No. 2 doubles. They took the second set to a tiebreaker, but were unable to pull out a victory, losing 6-7 in the second. Third doubles duo of junior Charlie Link and junior Alec Strauss brought their match to three sets. After falling behind 2-6 in the first set, the team rebounded for a 6-4 win in the second, but fell 4-6 in the third. The two matches were close, but not quite enough to change the outcome for Park.
Following the loss to the Royals, Park faced an even tougher opponent the next day at home against Mounds View, falling 7-0. But the game was closer than the score appears. The loss doesn’t reflect the three-set matches at second and third singles. Both Elliot (at No. 2 singles) and senior Scott Johnson (at third singles) brought their matches to three sets, but lost in third-set tiebreakers.
Although Park saw no wins in doubles, coach Tony Townsend saw good things from his players.
“We played very smart and aggressive in doubles. We are learning how to be smarter doubles players and how to string more positive points together,” Townsend said.
Park reversed rolls for their 7-0 victory against Tartan on Wednesday. Park’s confidence gave them total control of the match.
“We outplayed Tartan in every position by dominating this match from start to finish. The team is becoming more confident in their abilities through their match experience. They are starting to learn how to control a match and to keep the intensity at a very high level,” said Townsend.
However, Park was unable to keep up the intensity through their next match, losing 7-0 to Roseville on Thursday. Townsend saw good effort, but Park’s technical play fell short of Roseville.
“We had a difficult time stringing points together and keeping the pressure on them,” he said. “We were slow getting to some balls in our singles play and kept the ball up too high in our doubles play.”
Following the loss, Park found a victory the next day against Como Park to finish out the week. The win was especially sweet considering the 7-0 loss the Wolfpack suffered in the two teams’ match last season.
“It was nice to see us rebound from last year and put together a very solid effort,” said Townsend.
In the match, Park improved their technicality from the day before.
“We were more skilled at every position and were mentally tougher at the close points,” Townsend said. “We are playing with a lot of confidence and belief that will hopefully stay with us during the next couple of weeks.”
Park played at Cretin-Derham Hall on Tuesday after the Bulletin went to press. They play at home against St. Paul Johnson today at 3:30 p.m., and tomorrow at White Bear Lake at 3:30 p.m.