Varsity Tennis advances on Miller

Dr. Jim Tung

In the final regular road match of the season, the Hargrave tennis squad journeyed up to the Miller School of Albemarle (MSA) to enjoy both some cool sunshine and tennis amid the rolling hills of Central Virginia.

With MSA’s four courts in full use, the singles ladder started out with #1, #3, #4 and #5.  It quickly became obvious the #1 Cadet Pavel Stupin was well-matched against MSA’s Connor Schroeder. With Schroeder’s booming serve a constant threat, Stupin dug in. After a preliminary exchange of games that showed that both players had a solid service and baseline game, Stupin was down 3-4.  Making a subtle change, Stupin began to vary the pace and spin on the ball to break up the game’s rhythm. Schroeder was well-aware of the tactic, but his counter-measures weren’t quite up to the task. Stupin broke serve and then held on to take a 5-4 lead that he hammered into a 9-4 lead against a highly resistant and resilient Schroeder who was finally able to stop the momentum. After holding to 9-5, Stupin was able to serve for the match and put up his first win of the season. At #3 Singles, Cadet Walter Kasica struggled to create a strategy effective against an extremely steady and unflappable Joey Hill.  At #4 Singles, Cadet Jose Posadas fell to 1-5 before climbing back into the match. He was unable to create his own momentum and stalled out against an aggressive Kenneth Lin, 3-10. At #5 Singles, the normally unflappable and steady Cadet Zach Gjenasaj found himself being pushed around into making errors by businesslike Faridon Nuralive. At the end of the first round of matches, Hargrave was down 1-3 and spirits were flagging.  

But on court 4, Cadet Turner Wall started his match at #2 singles and began to generate buzz. Despite reporting that he wasn’t 100%, Wall was able to somehow  consistently come up with solid returns (ranging from down around his shoestrings to lunging high volleys) throughout his match to neutralize the deep and penetrating ground strokes Maverick Andre Cosica. In a tight match with a lopsided score, Wall steadily climbed from being down 1-2 to take 7 straight games. At 8-2, both players were again making tactical adjustments, but Wall would not be denied the victory, putting away the match 10-3. With a crowd of Tigers and Mavericks looking on, the team score was 2-4 at the end of singles play with possibility of a Tiger victory dependent on the doubles matches.

Stupin and Wall, both pumped up by their respective singles victories, jumped into the #1 doubles match that showed that MSA was certainly not going to go down quietly. Schroeder and Lin teamed up to complement each other and their synergy locked down the Tigers. After splitting 2-2, the Tigers duo slipped to 2-3 and the Mavericks held on as the score ratcheted up to 6-7. A break and MSA took the contest 6-8. Now with the lopsided scores going the other way, but still belying the efforts of the players, the other Tiger doubles teams suffered defeats despite some good points and great efforts by all the players on both sides.

Our next scheduled regular season team contest will be a final home match against Eastern Mennonite (4/30).

Individual Match Scores:

#1 – Pavel Stupin v Connor Schroeder : 10-5
#2 – Turner Wall v Andre Cosica : 10-3
#3 – Walt Kasica v Joey Hill : 0 – 10
#4 – Jose Bendeck-Posadas v Kenneth Lin : 3-10
#5 – Zach Gjenasaj v Faridon Nuralive : 0-10
#6 – Patrick Saad v Patrick Bond: 1-10

#1 – Stupin and Wall v Schroeder and Lin : 6-8
#2 – Kasica and Gjenasaj v Hill and Nuralive : 1-8
#3 – Armel Ngabo and Rakan Alshinbr v Martin Hu and David Wu : 1-8

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