Highlighted by a spirited and hard-fought victory in the number-one doubles match, the Bellarmine Prep Lions swept the Stadium Tigers 5-0 at home on Sept. 18, displaying the depth of their tennis squad.
With all of the other varsity matches finished, Lions senior Chase Hassig and junior Henry Wurst completed the sweep by claiming a 7-6, 7-6 win over Stadium senior Aaron Park and freshman Callan Peterson – the Tigers’ top two singles players who were playing as a duo for the first time. Hassig and Wurst capped a back-and-forth match by claiming the tiebreaker 7-5.
“We focused on staying at the net,” said Wurst, who advanced to the state tournament with Hassig last spring. “We did what we did, got to the net and won our points at the net…it’s good practice for district and state, because we’re hoping to go farther than we did last year.”
Trailing 5-4 in the second set, Wurst’s solid serving and returns helped tie it at five games apiece, and the Lions’ duo went up 6-5 before Peterson and Park tied it to require the tiebreak.
“Callan is an experienced freshmen coming in and Aaron’s got a lot of experience and is playing really well,” Hassig said. “When we made a mistake we’d just talk about it, we’d high-five and get pumped up.”
Earlier in the day, Bellarmine sophomore Elliot Gardner coasted to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Stadium’s Gavin Mackey in the number-one singles match, using a consistent forehand to wear down his opponent.
“I was just stepping forward, which helps me put away balls, and just concentrating and not letting him get in my head, because it’s easy to lose a match like that,” Gardner said.
Ted Tanner and Chris Wood beat Daniel Yun and Alex Moreno 7-5, 6-0 in number-two doubles, Sean Noronha and Brett Manke cruised 6-1, 6-1 over the Tigers’ Alex Sylvanus and Anup Chamrajnagar, and the Lions’ Taylor Flaherty took out Tigers’ freshman Robbie Bernovich – playing his first varsity match – 6-1, 6-2 in number-two doubles.
Despite the less than ideal outcome, Stadium coach Stefan Green is excited about the future and potential of his relatively young squad.
“I’m excited for our future,” said Green, noting the play of Moreno, a junior, and Peterson. “All in all, I wish the outcome was better, but it shows us we have a lot to work on…in the long run, what we’re trying to do is to build the program up for the future. We’re succeeding in that respect, we’ve got 31 kids. And the majority of these guys are freshmen.”