The Newton boys tennis team has a busy week ahead of it, and it wasn’t an ideal start Monday.
Playing in a meet shortened by a lack of lights on the court, the Cards lost a 2-7 decision to Saydel, but continued to see the improvement they have seen over the past few meets.
“This is the third meet in a row where three matches have gone to super tiebreakers. The guys are getting more competitive with experience,” Newton coach Seth Banwell said. “We continue to improve, but we fall short losing key points that cost us some wins.”
Both of the Cardinals’ victories came in singles, as junior Kyle Portner earned a solid 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 5 and junior Brendan Brown fended off Saydel’s Rushab Shah in a tiebreaker to win 6-4, 2-6 (10-5).
“Kyle gave a strong performance in his singles match. He played to his opponent’s weakness by running him all over the court,” Banwell said. “Brendan won a see-saw battle during his singles match. He stayed calm and focused on keeping the ball in play to draw some unforced errors to win the super tiebreaker.”
The Cardinals also had a number of near victories, including Nate Hinshaw at No. 4. After taking the first set 6-5, Hinshaw lost the second by a narrow margin of 5-7 and eventually fell in the tiebreaker 5-10. Hinshaw later suffered a similar loss in doubles with Brown, as they fell 6-4, 2-6, 9-11.
In No. 2 doubles, junior Ben VanDalen and Portner lost a close straight-sets battles 3-6, 3-6, and the Eagles took the remainder of the matches rather handily.
The Cardinals will continue their season at home on Thursday when they host Oskaloosa, and will remain at home on Friday against Oskaloosa. Newton originally had a meet scheduled for today against Pella Christian, but it has since been called off.
“We are gaining confidence and momentum that should help us on our final matches against Knoxville and Oskaloosa later this week,” Banwell said.