Lions lose a couple of close ones
Easton’ boys wrap up regular-season sweep with 4-3 victory; girls’ matches also finish at 4-3
CENTREVILLE — The final team score was just as close, the match scores, not so much.
After eking out a 4-3 team victory over Queen Anne’s County on the last day of March, Easton High’s boys’ tennis team created a little more distance in the match scores last Thursday afternoon.
Easton’s No. 1 Lucas Joshi produced a solid 8-3 victory over Queen Anne’s Robbie Kight, and No. 5 Alex Matsche rallied from not-so-far down against Alex Downes, as the Warriors completed a regularseason sweep of the Lions with another 4-3 win.
Matsche had to mount a remarkable rally, from a 7-3 deficit, to defeat Downes, 9-7, in a thrilling finish of the two teams’ first meeting. This time, Matsche rallied from only 3-1 down on his way to an 8-5 victory, making the final match of the afternoon moot.
Queen Anne’s Austin Thomas topped Easton’s Aiden Steinly, 8-4, at No. 4 singles in the last match played on a breezy, warm afternoon.
Easton’s Lucas Tondin topped Parker Martin, 8-3, in No. 3 singles and the Warriors’ No. 2 doubles team of Christian Startt and Xavier Rahim shut out Sabastian Jeramicco and Josh Rattel, 8-0.
The sweep over Queen Anne’s puts Easton (11-0, 100) in a favorable position to claim its first North Bayside title since 1983.
“I was very proud of our team,” Easton assistant coach Grant Mayhew said. “We knew it was a big match going into it. We had a good practice yesterday to prepare for it and we came out here very focused. We knew from the first time that we played them that they were going to be tough, and they were going to fight us.”
The Lions (12-2, 10-2) received a singles win from Blake Witt at No. 2, an 8-3 victory over Devin Williams. Queen Anne’s No. 1 doubles team of Tanner Morris and Matt Lutz defeated Sean Wilson and Brian Mejia, 8-6.
Joshi used his arsenal of consistent, well-struck ground strokes for a solid win, after a hard-fought 8-6 victory over Kight in their first meeting of the season.
“He’s a very tough competitor,” Joshi said. “I always enjoy playing him because I think he brings out the best in me. My coach was telling me that I should just run him around the court and I think I was doing a good job of running him around and making him make the errors.”
Joshi, a freshman, said his game is improving as the season progresses.
“Playing all these great competitors has really helped me improve my game, so I’m very thankful for that,” he said.
Matsche broke Downes’ serve in a four-deuce game to take control of the No. 5 match. Downes hurt himself with a pair of double faults, both coming on potential game points. After his second double fault, Downes also sent a forehand wide of the court for ad-out. He bounced back to create another tie with a forehand smash at the net, but sent a forehand long and another into the net as Matsche took a 7-5 lead.
Matsche then served out the match. He placed a foreThe
hand deep to Downes’ backhand side for the final point.
“I was definitely more mentally prepared for this match,” said Matsche. “I wasn’t really messing around.”
“Alex and Lucas are both freshmen and you can see how much they’ve developed,” said Mayhew. “Alex actually went out there saying: ‘I’m not ever going to get down like I did that first match ever again.’ … Lucas, our No. 1, … when he was up big there at the end, he did not take his foot off the gas. He just kept going and tried to wear this guy down and not let him have any chance to breathe.”
In the girls’ competition, Easton’s Sophia Denton, moving up from doubles because of an absence, rallied from a 4-1 deficit in No. 5 singles for an 8-6 victory over Izzy Covington as the Warriors edged Queen Anne’s 4-3. Covington had also played doubles in the teams’ first matchup, a 6-1 Warriors win. Easton (8-3, 8-2) also got singles victories this time from Ella Joshi, Ina Lucero, and Sarah Devenney.
Brooke Hollis earned the Lions’ lone singles victory, 8-5 over Hali Ulrick. Queen Anne’s (77, 6-6) also won both doubles matches, getting wins from Zoe Coleman and Caitlin Leager, 9-8, at No. 1, and Katherine Priddy and Kaylyn Workinger, 8-5, at No. 2. Follow me on Twitter @csknauss Email me at email@example.com