Indian River’s varsity boy’s tennis continues to improve as they split two — winning one of two matches.
The Indians defeated Lake Forest 4-1 on May 5 but lost another close 3-2 match against Milford.
The 3-2 loss to Milford marks the fifth loss by one point on the season, to which Head Coach Sean Oates said, “I thought we got that monkey off our backs.”
Oates has constantly had to shuffle his lineup this season, but against Milford he thought he had it nailed down.
Oates was optimistic that the team would be able to get wins from second singles, first doubles and second doubles.
Junior Fletcher Garrison continues his hot play, defeating his Milford opponent 6-2, 7-5. He also won his match versus Lake Forest, 6-2, 6-4. The pair of wins improves his record to 9-2 in competitive play this season.
Juniors Sean McMullen and Zack Mitchell — first-doubles — were the remaining winners of the Milford match. They defeated their Milford opponents 7-5, 6-3, and beat Lake 6-1, 6-2.
Though they lost to Milford, the Lake Forest match has given the Indians some much-needed confidence going into the post-season.
Senior Bobby Boyce was sick for that match, so exhibition player Jordan Marvel stepped in at first singles but lost 6-0, 6-0.
Former first doubles player Chad Brasure earned his first victory at third singles by defeating his opponent 7-5, 7-5.
“This is a huge win for Chad because he stepped up in quality of tennis,” said Oates.
Second doubles team of Ed Smith and Charlie Cole has done well in their position, going 5-1 since their promotion. They defeated their Lake Forest opponents 6-1, 6-1.
“Those guys have played well at their position. The thing with second doubles is that all you have to do is make fewer mistakes than the other team and you can win, explained Oates. “It also helps that these guys are good athletes and are coachable.”
The Indians will participate in the conference tournament at Sea Colony on May 13, and Oates is looking forward to it despite their 4-7 record.
“The thing about the conference tournament is that nobody remembers your regular-season record — they remember how well you did in the tournament,” said Oates.
Despite the team losing seven matches this season, Oates has seen improvement.
“Four of our losses were to teams in the top five in the state (Seaford twice, Caesar Rodney and Dover) and we avenged two loses to teams that we lost to earlier in the season (Smyrna and Lake Forest),” said Oates.
Whatever the result of the conference tournament on May 13, Indian River has built a solid foundation and should be very competitive next season.
“We have eight kids returning next season, and I’ve heard the guys talking about playing together this summer at Sea Colony, which is great. Also, a rule has been passed that allows the kids to receive instruction from me for a couple weeks in the summer,” concluded Oates, already looking ahead to continued success next year.