YELLOW SPRINGS — Of course, both teams want to win. But Thursday’s March 30 boys high school tennis match between Cedarville and host Yellow Springs seemed more about the two teams improving their level of play each day.
The more experienced Yellow Springs Bulldogs bunch claimed a 5-0 win, but several of the players for both teams were seen chatting with each other and encouraging each other after their respective matches.
“We have a deep team this year,” said Yellow Springs co-coach Stacey Knemeyer. “We have a lot of experience, and so they’re playing with confidence and using good shot selection. And our beginners are improving tremendously. From the first day of practice to now. So, I’m hopeful that as they play more, they’ll continue to improve.”
Augie Knemeyer won over Ben Heath at first singles, in a very hard-hitting, athletic match, 6-0, 6-1; Forrest Rowe claimed the No. 2 singles match over Cedarville’s Colton Lewis in perhaps the most competitive singles match of the day, 6-3, 6-2; and Peter Day earned the Bulldogs the No. 3 singles win by a 6-3, 6-1 count over the Indians’ Bryan Crossman.
In doubles, Springs’ senior duo of Dylan Dietrich and Kasey Linkhart won by a 6-2, 6-3 score over Cedarville’s No. 1 tandem of Tim Kohl and Katrina Tucker. The Dietrich-K.Linkhart senior tandem have been a tennis pair since they were freshmen. At second doubles, Kike Coronado and Tyler Linkhart earned a 6-0, 6-2 win over the Indians’ Nick Shaw and Anna Kinsinger.
“I think we’re all constantly improving and working hard to improve ourselves,” Knemeyer said.
“At least for me personally, I think these first couple matches have really been informative in letting me know what it is I have to work on,” Day added.
Bulldogs co-head coach Donna Silvert said the team hasn’t set any seasonal goals yet.
“Not implicitly, no. I think our goal is always to keep improving, to develop a lifetime sport and enjoy ourselves when we’re out there playing.”
So far, so good.
First-year Cedarville coach Brett Cooley liked what he saw from his team in their first match of the 2017 season.
“For the first time out, we’re learning our roles. We’ve got a lot of players that didn’t see a lot of playing time last year, and so they’re stepping in and learning what it is like to play at a higher level than they’re used to, so it’s good,” Cooley said. “There’s been a lot of improvement from the first week’s of practice until now, and we’re continuing every day to do what we can to get better.”
Cooley said Lewis and Heath have done a nice job of leading the team, not only on the court but in practice. He said the Cedarville Indians players have adopted a team motto for this season. too: Beat Yesterday.
“I tell them the only player they need to focus on beating, is the one they were yesterday,” he said.
So far so good there, too.
Yellow Springs (2-0) returns to the Antioch College tennis courts to host a 10 a.m. Saturday April 1 match with Xenia.
Cedarville (0-1) heads to Springfield Northeastern on Thursday, April 6 for its next contest.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.