Adversity struck the Saint Ignatius varsity tennis team in the very first match of the season on Monday.
The team's top singles player, Arjun Brahmbhatt, suffered an injury and will miss some time.
Dealt with such a blow, the Tennis Cats reacted with grace and stepped up to the challenge. The Wildcats banded together for a 4-1 win over Westlake to start the season with a victory.
Nate Day assumed the No. 1 singles spot and performed admirably. The sophomore took care of business with a 6-0 win in the first set and a 6-1 triumph in the second set.
In the first match of his Wildcats career, Kai Vasikillio experienced defeat. The freshman battled against a very tough foe, Tyler Malin, but the more experienced Demon emerged with a 6-1, 6-2 win. Drew Barclay also faced a difficult foe in Frank Ricarte. Barclay managed a 6-2 win in the first set, but the second set proved to be a fierce war. In the end, Barclay vanquished the valiant Demon, claiming a 7-6 victory.
In doubles play, Jack McNally paired with Kenny Li. The senior-sophomore duo played well as a unit, steamrolling to a 6-1 win in the opening set. McNally and Li stayed hot in the second set, though the Demon duo kept it closer. The Wildcats finished it off, 6-3, to ensure a Saint Ignatius victory.
Thomas Deucher and Michael Nock took a bit longer to gel. The junior-freshman combo suffered a 6-2 loss in the first set to Westlake's Terry Zheng and Clayton Book. In the second stanza, Deucher and Nock papered over the loss by boomeranging back into the contest with a 6-1 win. In the rubber match, the Wildcats' duo could not be stopped. Deucher and Nock roped an easy 6-0 victory in the third set to finish off the Wildcats' opening day.
"This was a great team win and first match," said Head Coach Bobbe Bennett. "I am proud of all the guys, especially since we had to shift the lineup due to Arjun's injury. They all stepped up when needed."
The Wildcats have a quick turnaround with a game on Tuesday. The men of Ohio City will trek west to do battle with the Avon Lake Shoremen in a 4:30 pm match near the shores of Lake Erie.