The Indian River boys’ tennis team emerged from a jammed-packed four-match season-opening week and emerged with a 2-2 overall record. They played four matches in seven days but were given a six day reprieve before playing and beating Milford 4-1 on April 4.
Head coach Sean Oates noted that it’s always good to have time in between matches to work on weaknesses. But it also gave new third-singles player Danny Kleinstuber an opportunity to get accustomed to his new position
Who would’ve thought that ping-pong would help spawn a solid tennis program at Indian River High School? Last year, Charlie Cole joined the team as an exhibition player and worked his way into the starting lineup alongside second-doubles partner Ed Smith. This year they’ve moved up to first-doubles, but Cole talked ping-pong buddy Danny Kleinstuber into joining the team this year too.
Kleinstuber decided not to play baseball in favor of ping-pong on a large scale.
“Charlie and I used to play ping-pong all the time, and that’s why I got into tennis,” he said.
Kleinstuber had been an alternate for both doubles teams but, when a vacancy presented itself, Oates felt the fit was perfect for him.
“Dan’s going to be tough,” Oates said. “The big thing at this level is keeping it in play, and that’s his strength.”
Second-singles player Zack Mitchell moved up from doubles to singles competition last year as well and said the biggest difference is that you have to cover more ground.
“You have to know where you are on the court,” Mitchell said. “You have to work on more than just a forehand. He’ll be fine because it’s the same paced game that he plays.”
Kleinstuber utilized all the strokes and kept the ball in play, forcing his opponent to make the mistakes on his way to his first varsity win in consecutive sets, 6-4, 6-4.
Cole, like Kleinstuber — and with the help of his partner, Smith — continued their unbeaten streak 5-0. Second-doubles tandem of Tommy Reichart and Jordan Marvel also notched their fifth win in the Milford match, winning 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.
Zack Mitchell replaces Chad Brasure at second singles and won in consecutive sets, 6-0, 6-3.
First-singles player Travis Garrison (1-4) dropped his fourth of the season in consecutive sets; 2-6, 4-6.
The Indians will face Sussex Central on April 6 and travel up to Dover for an April 12 match. Then they have a 12-day layoff for Easter before hosting Caesar Rodney.