Leading up to Monday's match vs. Walsh Jesuit, Bobbe Bennett remarked that this week would be a good barometer for the Tennis Cats.
Mirroring Monday's weather conditions, the Wildcats drew a sweat but shined brightly, earning a hard-fought 4-1 victory over the Warriors.
With sun shining down on Magnificat High School's courts, the Wildcats posted an excellent effort against a good team. Every match was a war, and in four of the five contests, the Wildcats emerged victorious.
One of the best battles of the day occurred in the No. 1 singles spot. Nate Day faced off against Caleb Miller, a smart and savvy freshman. Miller harnessed good responses and lengthy volleys to capture a 6-3 win in the first set. In the second stanza, the script flipped. Day utilized his strong serves and his booming responses to return the favor with a 6-3 victory. The rubber match in the third set proved to be a fun battle.
Day and Miller traded points in a fun contest. The two challengers played incredibly well, as the third set extended for a while. In the end, Day finally emerged as the champion, narrowly defeating Miller, 7-6.
Kai Vesikallio did not have any easy foe at No. 2 singles. Ben Cors provided a steep challenge, rarely making a mistake and keeping volleys going for a while. Cors forced Vesikallio to give every ounce of energy he had. Vesikallio fought fiercely, but Cors used a combination of strong returns and pinpoint placement to earn victory in both the first and second sets, 6-3, 6-2.
Drew Barclay experienced an easier path at the No. 3 singles spot. Barclay dialed a 6-1 triumph in the first set and did even better in the second set. Barclay cruised to a 6-0 win in the second stanza, employing a 'keep the volley going' strategy inside of trying for kill shots. Barclay's conservative approach worked wonders. Barclay claimed a big win, the first of the day for the blue and gold.
"My opponent played good. He kept some balls in play and had a good second serve. I'm just glad I won," Barclay said. "I'm excited for the Medina Doubles Tournament this Saturday. Hopefully after that, I'm able to play some good singles."
In the top doubles spot, Jack McNally combined with Thomas Deucher. The senior-junior duo played quite well, looking strong and confident all day. McNally and Deucher often fed well off each other. In one instance, McNally offered a wonderfully strong serve. The Warriors offered a return to the left, into Deucher's waiting racket. Deucher promptly killed the ball with a powerful, unhittable shot. The Walsh Jesuit combo could not keep up with the Wildcats' strong duo, as the hosts rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 conquest.
Kenny Li and Michael Nock also played strongly. The Wildcats' duo faced another sophomore-freshman pair from Walsh Jesuit – Nathan Lahovich and Rory Arnold. Li and Nock showcased killer serves and impeccable returns in the first set, booming a 6-2 win. The second set proved to be tougher, as the Warriors started to adjust. But in the end, Li and Nock worked too well together not to win. The Wildcats' No. 2 doubles squad picked up a 6-4 win.
"This was a great team win," Bennett said. "Our two doubles really turned around the second set when we needed them. And in singles, Nate won a really hard-fought third setter."
The Wildcats now stand undefeated at 4-0 on the year. The men of Ohio City will host North Canton Hoover on Tuesday at Magnificat.
TOUR OF NORTHEAST OHIO BEGINS FOR JV CATS
With JV Coach Josie Miller in the driver's seat, the JV Tennis Cats are taking a tour of Northeast Ohio this week.
The journey started with a trip to Cuyahoga Falls to face Walsh Jesuit on Monday. The sojourn was a success.
Shay Tanna rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 win in the No. 1 singles spot. Telly Apostolakis worked hard for a 6-3, 6-0 conquest in the second slot. Liam Walters completed the singles sweep with an impressive 6-0, 6-0 win.
In the first doubles spot, Sohan Shah and Andrew Sfeir paired up. The sophomore-freshman combo fell in the first set, 6-1, before making some big adjustments. The Wildcats overcame the early deficit to glide to 6-1 wins in the second and third sets.
The Wildcats' lone loss of the day occurred in the second doubles spot. Jimmy Brennan and Max Sfeir battled hard, but fell to Ali Osmen and Patrick Mastellar of Walsh Jesuit, 7-6, 6-1.
The JV Cats' barnstorming continues today, as the squad heads to North Canton to face Hoover. Weather-permitting, the Wildcats will also head to Hawken on Thursday.