Lions get swept by the Warriors
Boys fall 4-3 in a thriller, but girls flattened, 6-1
EASTON — Lions head coach Shel Gunther’s preseason pick of Easton High as the boys’ tennis team to beat in the North Bayside proved prophetic Thursday afternoon at the Easton Family YMCA tennis courts.
But it took a remarkable comeback to make it happen.
With Queen Anne’s and Easton tied 3-3, Alex Matsche rallied from a 3-7 deficit to earn an improbable 9-7 victory that clinched a 4-3 victory for the Warriors and handed the Lions their first loss of the season.
Matsche smashed a return of serve to stave off a match point by Alex Downes and won the next two points to tie the match at 7-7, then claimed the final two games as well for six straight wins and the victory.
“It’s all in the mindset,” Matsche said. “The next point, if I win it, I win it, but it was all or nothing because he had seven. … I had to really attack his backhand.”
With Matsche serving in Game 15, and the score tied 30-30, Downes sent a pair of backhands past the baseline as Matsche held serve. Downes trailed 40-15 in the final game but bounced back to tie the score when Matsche returned a serve too deep and sent a forehand out after a long rally. But Matsche took advantage of a second serve with a hard return that resulted in a point and he put the match away with a short volley that Downes lunged for and sent wide.
“I’ve seen somebody come back from 3-7, but not when the team match was 3-all, and it all came down to that. No, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Easton head coach Dick Kemp said. “We had the right man in the right position at the right time.”
Easton (3-0 overall, 3-0 North Bayside) also won at No. 1 and No. 3 singles. Lucas Joshi defeated Robbie Kight, 8-6, at No. 1, and Luca Tondin topped Parker Martin, 8-5, at No. 3.
Both Joshi and Kight struggled to hold serve through- out their match, but Joshi served for a win to put the match away.
“I just wanted to play consistently and try to force my opponent to hit the error,” Joshi said. “I try to tell myself just to calm down and stay focused and not give any easy points away. I tried to serve a little better, and what I tried to do the most was hit my groundstrokes deeper and force him to bring me into the net so I could end the point.”
Serving in Game 13, Kight led 40-15 before Joshi rallied. The Easton freshman hit a passing forehand and Kight hit a forehand into the net for deuce. Kight then sent a pair of backhand slices off the court to give Joshi the win.
Kight sent three more shots wide in Game 14 and Joshi finished the match with a backhand cross-court winner.
“He [Joshi] had a great match,” Kemp said. “Consistency and mental toughness, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win, hang out there as long as possible. He’s a
very smart player. He plays the right shot at the right time.”
Queen Anne’s Blake Witt dropped only single points in the final three games in his 8-3 victory at No. 2 singles over Devin Williams. Queen Anne’s Austin Thomas used a crisp serve and forehand to deliver a decisive 8-3 win over Aidan Steinly at No. 4.
The Lions (4-1, 3-1) also got an 8-5 win from their No. 1 doubles team of Tanner Morris and Matt Lutz over Xavier Rahim and Sean Wil- son. Easton’s Brian Mejia and Christian Startt teamed to top Sebastian Jeramicco and Josh Rattell, 8-0, at No. 2 doubles.
Easton’s girls (2-1) had an easier time of it, winning all five singles matches during a 6-1 victory. Collecting wins for the Warriors were Ella Joshi, Carly Palmer, Ina Lucero, Sarah Devenney, and Hali Ulrick. Easton’s No. 2 doubles team of Kathleen Campbell and Cassandra Carpenter won 8-6.
Queen Anne’s lone girls’ win, 8-5, came at No. 1 doubles from the team of Izzy Covington and Zoe Coleman.
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