Lions get swept by the War­riors

Boys fall 4-3 in a thriller, but girls flat­tened, 6-1

Record Observer - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

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.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss Email me at

ck­nauss@star­dem.com

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