EATON — The Eaton boys tennis team took its best shot at league rival Oakwood and came within four games of getting what would’ve been its first victory ever against the Lumberjacks.
Oakwood, though, did just enough to earn the win. The match was held on Tuesday, April 17.
“Historically, Oakwood’s tennis teams have dominated Eaton tennis but recently (we) have been able to close the gap and this year’s team was no exception,” Eaton coach John Hitchcock said. “It was the closest we’ve ever been to the Dayton school.”
Andrew Collins came back from a set down and won his match in three sets at second singles. The win at second singles is the highest position to win a court in over 30 years against Oakwood, according to Hitchcock.
The first doubles team of Branson Ball and Aaron Tolliver played a very cohesive match and exhibited some strong doubles play in taking out their opponents, 6-3, 6-3.
John Altom and Seth Bristow couldn’t overcome some unforced errors and after failing to capitalize on a close first set, they let the second set get away from them in a 6-4, 6-1 loss.
At first singles, Breven Perry had control of the first set. Leading at 5-4, and yet again at 6-5, he just couldn’t get to the finish line, according to Hitchcock. Eventually losing the set in a tightly contested tiebreaker.
“Losing that closely unfortunately impacted his play in the second set. Even though a veteran senior, you’ve got to find a way to clear your head and get ready for the next set,” Hitchcock said.
According to Hitchcock, the true heartbreaking match fell to third singles and Steven Perry.
After winning a very close first set, the next two sets became a war of attrition. Unfortunately, Oakwood would prevail 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“Steven gave everything he had and laid it all out on the court which is all any of us can do. For as tough as he took it, this was a true team loss,” Hitchcock said. “All five courts had legit chances to get wins. We just came up short on a frigid day.”
The Eagles can still reach a significant milestone.
With a strong showing in the SWBL tournament, they could finish above Oakwood in the overall standings.
“Definitely something that we’re going to shoot for. Despite this loss, I am still very proud of this performance. I know for a fact that several of the Oakwood player’s have their own tennis instructors and play year round indoors,” he said. “So for our kids, who do none of that, and can be that competitive is very refreshing.”
On Friday, the Eagles did something that they haven’t been able to do for 26 years — beat Greenville.
The Eagles realizing that it had been quite some time since they’ve been victorious came into the match extra motivated, according to Hitchcock.
“We knew we had a good chance this year. Last year’s match was extremely close and we lost by one court. And Greenville was going to be losing some key senior players,” he said.
“Breven Perry and Andrew Collins played very solid tennis and took care of the top two singles court. Breven had to fight off his opponent making a comeback in the second set,” Hitchcock said. “Both doubles teams are starting to jell with one another and are starting to play some higher level tennis and it showed on Friday as well. Branson Ball and Aaron Tolliver at 1st doubles and 2nd doubles John Altom and Seth Bristow are hopefully starting to peak at the right time.”
Unfortunately, at third singles, Steven Perry ran into a very good player.
“Actually an exchange student from Brazil who possessed a very strong tennis skill set. As always, Steven fought for every point but came up short,” Hitchcock said.
Eaton swept West Carrollton 5-0 on Wednesday and Brookville on Thursday.
The win brings the Eagles record to 7-4 overall.
Eaton was scheduled to play at Preble Shawnee on Tuesday, April 24. The Eagles are scheduled to play at Chaminade Julienne on Wednesday and Carroll on Friday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH
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