The boys and girls varsity tennis programs at Indian River High School both beat Sussex Central on April 6 and surpassed last season’s production at this point in play. The boys varsity team has a winning record at 4-2 (rather than 1-5) and the girls team doubled its win total from last year (2:1).
The boys team coasted past the Golden Knights and won all matches, for a 5-0 win. All five teams won theirs first sets easily, within a couple minutes of each other, so head coach Sean Oates tossed out a little incentive to keep his players focused: first player or team to finish doesn’t run.
Oates’ first-doubles team of Charlie Cole and Ed Smith buckled down after giving up one game in a 6-1 first set to win the next set 6-0 and earned the no-conditioning honor.
“Anything to keep those guys focused,” Oates said of the two first-doubles players. “They’re very good doubles players when they’re focused, but they have a tendency to play down to their competition.”
Oates noted an occasion earlier this season against Cape Henlopen where Cole’s and Smith’s shenanigans cost them the first set.
“They went off and lost the first set because they were joking around,” Oates said.
Cole and Smith, along with second-doubles tandem of Tommy Reichart and Jordan Marvel, both improved to 6-0 for the season. First-singles player Fletcher Garrison improved to 2-4, second-doubles player Zack Mitchell improved to 4-2 and freshman exhibition player Eric Liddy stepped in for a vacationing Dan Kleinstuber at third singles for his first victory of the season.
The Lady Indians notched their second win in a 3-2 effort over Sussex Central. First- and third-singles players Ramsey Ruether and Laura Walter earned victories (6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and 6-2, 6-1, respectfully) leaving the door open for any one of their teammates to bring home the win.
Freshman second-doubles players Julia Jaquette and Taylor Rosenblit defeated Ashley Broughton and Jasmyth Dennis in two sets (6-1, 6-0) for their second win. Head coach Elizabeth Tiffany noted that her younger players had a tendency to return the ball to their opponent rather than trying to score, but with a little practice Jaquette and Rosenblit made the necessary adjustments.
Tiffany had Ruether play the net against her doubles teams, and the increased speed and intensity of the game made Jaquette and Rosenblit better at two things — winning and communication.
“Right now we’re communicating better,” Rosenblit said. “We try to hit it right down the middle to confuse them.”
“Most times our opponents won’t even move,” added Jaquette.
Jaquette played club tennis in the past but never played on a team, and this is Rosenblit’s first season in the sport, so there will be growing pains for the pair throughout the season and they know that. They know that they’ll have to take it one day at a time.
“We’re really relying on them to make a mistake,” Jaquette said.
“So, in the meantime, we’ll just have to grit our teeth and make it through,” added Rosenblit.
The pair recently challenged the first-doubles team for their position and sent it to a tie-breaker before losing. They were winning 3-0 but allowed Kara Roach and Mandie Buet to win the next three before trading off back and forth until the end and an 8-6 loss.
The boys and girls varsity tennis teams have the next week off but resume action with Dover on April 25.