IR tennis set for South stretch after non-conference losses
Both the boys’ and girls’ Indian River High School tennis teams struggled with Division I St. Thomas More last Monday, April 28 — with the boys losing 5-0 at home, and the girls getting bested 3-2 on the road.
Freshman Mac Smith stepped in for senior Josh Kleinstuber at second-singles but fell 6-0, 6-0 facing well-seasoned Ravens senior Anthony Caruso. Seniors Rydge Murray and Sam Izzo also struggled in their singles matchups, with Murray being defeated 6-0, 6-3 and Izzo 6-1, 6-1.
The team’s closest match was in first-doubles, where Indian River’s Darsh Patel and Sean Whelen were edged out 6-4, 6-2 by St. Thomas More’s Nicholas Reyes and Jhun Yee Lin.
The girls’ team faired a little bit better on the road — notching victories from seniors Alyssa McManus and Leanne Murray in second- and third-doubles, respectively.
Head coach Stefanie Riddle said she was particularly impressed with the performance by McManus, as she went up against St. Thomas More junior Danielle Ruczynski, who had only lost one match prior to Monday.
“You could tell she was a year-round player,” Riddle said of the tough competition. “Alyssa gets the ball back every time. She was an excellent player yesterday. As a player myself, I would never want to play her.”
With the losses, the boys’ team dropped back to .500 on the season, at 4-4, while the Lady Indians’ defeat marked only their second of the season, leaving them at 7-2.
Both teams appear to remain in Henlopen South title contention as they approach a stretch of schedule where they each face three consecutive conference opponents, beginning with Milford on Wednesday, April 30, (after Coastal Point press time).
After that, both squads will face Smyrna on Friday, May 2, before taking on Seaford on Monday, May 5. The girls will be away for all those games, while the boys’ team will play with home-court advantage.
“It’ll be our second time playing Milford. That second match determines the seeding for the Henlopen Conference,” Riddle noted, looking at the schedule ahead. “It should lock up the difference between a second and third seed. I’m expecting to have high seeds.”
Conference championships aren’t far off after the conference matchups, beginning on Thursday, May 8, at Ceasar Rodney for the boys and Friday, May 9, at Sea Colony for the girls. If the Lady Indians can lock up the South division, it will be their fifth consecutive title.