Eagles sneak past Cards with tight 6-5 decision
Early on in the Newton boys tennis team’s meet against Saydel on Monday, coach Clyde Wiley thought his team looked a little “Prom’d out.” But a little while after that, the party seemed to be over.
After taking a 2-4 deficit into the doubles matches, the Cardinals nearly pulled off a bigtime comeback, but ultimately fell to Saydel by a razor-thin margin of 6-5 at the Aurora Heights Park tennis court.
“It’s hard to win just two singles and then come back to get all four doubles,” Wiley said. “I’d say we could have come back, but we didn’t. It’s just disappointing we couldn’t get one more in singles. But, Saydel was a lot tougher than I thought they would be.”
In singles action, Newton senior No. 1 Troy Scott managed a 6-4, 6-3 sweep of Anthony Samples. Fellow senior McKinley Brown had a minor setback at No. 2, but was able to recover from a lost second set by defeating Saydel’s Alex Gaston 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 10-6.
“Singles went well. I was kind of tired and couldn’t shake the nerves, but I pulled through in the third set,” Brown said. “That made me happy because I usually don’t get those.”
Those two victories would be the only ones the Cards would see for a while, however, as the Eagles took No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles. A marathon match at No. 5 between Newton senior Jon Tudor and Saydel’s Caleb McClure extended well into doubles time as Tudor lost the first set 1-6, but rallied to take the second set 7-6 in a tiebreaker.
In the third set tiebreaker, Tudor held an 8-3 advantage, but it was McClure’s time to battle back. McClure won seven straight points to claim the victory and give the Eagles a comfortable 4-2 advantage.
Needing to win all four doubles matches to steal a victory, the Cardinals got off on the right foot. Scott and Brown had little trouble dispatching their foes at No. 1, as they cruised 6-2, 6-1.
“I’d like to think we’re one of the better doubles teams in the conference,” Brown said. “It’s a lot less stressful and we just try to have fun with our doubles matches. It was a tough day for our lower top six, but our bottom doubles teams played really well, despite the loss.”
The next Cardinal victory came from Spencer Hook and Sebastian Peters at No. 4, as they also fought back after losing their first set 2-6. They recovered to win the second 6-2, then capped the comeback with an 11-9 decision in the third set tiebreaker.
Saydel put the pressure back on with a win at No. 2 doubles, but Newton’s No. 5 team of Nate Hinshaw and Ben Van Dalen came through in the clutch with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victory. Van Dalen got the call up to varsity when No. 5 doubles regular Kyle Porter was moved up to No. 6 singles and No. 5 doubles in a lineup adjustment.
The meet was knotted up at 5-5 and it all came down to No. 3 doubles, which was even closer than the match score itself. The Newton combo of Tudor and Porter claimed the first set 6-4, but Saydel stole the second in convincing fashion, 6-1. With members of both teams watching the third set tiebreaker, the action went back and forth for the first few points.
After a 4-4 tie, Saydel went on a run to extend its lead to 4-7 and eventually 6-9. Tudor and Porter held on at the brink for a few points, however, driving the score to 8-9 before the Eagles finally put the game and match away with a 10-8 decision in the tiebreaker.
The Cards will stay busy this week as they return to conference action with a home meet against Grinnell on Thursday, then travel to Norwalk for a makeup meet from earlier in the season on Friday.
Saydel 6, Newton 5
1s — Troy Scott (N) def. Anthony Samples (S), 6-4, 6-3
2s — McKinley Brown (N) def. Alex Gaston (S), 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 10-6
3s — Alex Gustafson (S) def. Aaron Thmopson (N), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
4s — Tanner Robinson (S) def. Heli Nascimento (N), 6-3, 7-5
5s — Caleb McClure def. Jon Tudor (N), 6-1, 7-6
6s — Hunter White (S) def. Kyle Porter (N), 6-3, 6-2
1d — Scott/Brown (N) def. Samples/Gaston (S), 6-2, 6-1
2d — Gustafson/Robertson (S) def. Thompson/Nascimento (N), 6-4, 6-3
3d — McClure/White (S) def. Tudor/Porter (N), 6-4, 7-6 (7-1)
4d — Spencer Hook/Sebastian Peters (N) won 2-6, 6-2, 11-9
5d — Nate Hinshaw/Ben Van Dalen (N) def. Mike Gusk/Brody Harrison (S), 6-2, 7-6 (7-1)