Injuries and illnesses are always a difficult for a coach to plan and prepare for at any point in a season, let alone the opening contest for the year.
Such was the case last Thursday, March 22, for Mariano Woo and the Indian River High School boys’ tennis team. Down a couple of singles starters due to illness and injury, the Indians battled tough, but wound up on the short end of a non-conference 4-1 decision on the courts, losing to Maryland’s Gunston Day School.
“We had one guy leave school after getting sick in school, and another one still recovering from a concussion,” Woo said of the situation. “We had to juggle the lineup a bit, and moved some people up and around to make it work.”
The Indians went with Jhony Ortiz at first singles for the match. Ortiz would normally be slotted in at second singles but stepped up to the challenge in the face of the team’s shorthandedness. The junior hung tough but ultimately fell 8-2 (pro set score) to GDS’s Sam Umidi.
Juan Linares dropped an 8-3 decision at second singles for IR, and Noah Martin fell 8-0 at third singles.
The Indians’ lone point on the day came from the third doubles duo of Eddie Mochiam and Destin Smyth. The freshman pairing posted an 8-5 winner over GDS’s Keller Evans and Simon Cowley.
Then, on Monday, the boys dropped their Henlopen Conference opener 3-2 to Lake Forest.
Ortiz and Linares picked up wins at second and third singles, respectively. Luke McCabe returned from illness but dropped a three-set match to Lake Forest’s Jackson Sylvester (3-6, 6-0, 6-1).
In girls’ tennis action, IR rolled to a 4-1 win over GDS.
In first singles, Alexa Fitz cruised to an 8-3 win, while Madison Galbreath also was victorious with an 8-4 decision at second singles.
In doubles action, Analy Marquez and Katelyn Timmons battled to an 8-6 win at first doubles. Madison Killen and Brooke Weaver were also victorious in an 8-5 match.
In the girls’ contest with Lake Forest, the Indians’ suffered a 2-3 setback to the Spartans.
Fitz and Galbreath were again victorious at first and second singles, respectively, with Fitz posting a straight-sets 6-3, 6-0 win over Allison Brubaker. Galbreath was virtually perfect in her match versus Rebecca Queen, with identical 6-0, 6-0 set scores.
The girls and boys will get back in action after spring break, with a visit to Caesar Rodney on April 10.