Although Tuesday marked another loss for the Newton boys tennis team, the team’s undeniable improvement also continued.
The Cardinals fell 10-1 on the road at Pella, but won their largest amount of games this season by far. Three matchups even went to a tiebreaker, indicating just how far Newton has come in just a few meets.
“Pella is a very strong team with a lot of talent. We knew we had our hands full coming into this meet,” Newton coach Seth Banwell said. “The guys continue to get better every meet and it is evident in the increased number of games won and the number of matches that end up in a super tiebreaker.”
Newton earned its lone victory of the night in No. 4 doubles with the team of sophomore Alex Cron and junior Brian Jones. After falling 4-6 in their first set, Cron and Jones battled back for a 7-5 victory in the second before taking the tiebreaker 10-6.
“Brian and Alex worked very well together,” Banwell said. “They did a nice job covering the court and had some power overhead winners.”
The Dutch, who are undefeated in dual play this season, started the night with lopsided victories at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, but Newton junior Ben Van Dalen turned the tide at No. 3. Van Dalen took his first set 6-4, then fell by that same score in the second. The ensuing tiebreaker went down to the wire, but Van Dalen eventually fell by the narrow margin of 9-11.
“Ben lost a very close match that could have gone either way,” Banwell said. “He played very aggressively and fought hard for every point. He placed the ball very effectively, making it difficult for his opponent to return.”
Pella took another lopsided victory at No. 4 singles, and Newton senior Kyle Portner managed three games in a loss at No. 5. Another close match occurred at No. 6, however, as Cardinal junior Brendan Brown lost identical close sets of 4-6, 4-6.
In the rest of doubles action, the Dutch earned victories of 6-0, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-0 at Nos. 1 and 2. After being blanked in the first set, Brown and senior Nate Hinshaw mounted a big comeback in the second, only to fall 0-6, 5-7.
One of the more see-saw battles of the day occured at No. 5 doubles. The Newton team of seniors Tyler McAnally and Austen Van Brogen lost its first set 1-6, but rallied for a 6-2 victory in the second. However, much, the rest of the Cardinals’ day, McAnally and Van Brogen lost a narrow 9-11 decision in the tiebreaker.
The Cardinals will try to keep their building momentum going on Thursday, when they will host Norwalk at Aurora Heights Park.