Boys tennis bests Joplin, fall to Edwardsville


Freshman Brian Baker serves to his competitor from Joplin. Photo by Pen Terry

Pen Terry

Freshman Brian Baker serves to his competitor from Joplin. Photo by Pen Terry
Freshman Brian Baker serves to his competitor from Joplin.
Photo by Pen Terry
In a busy day at the Bethel Park tennis courts, the RBHS boys tennis team (9-1) took the courts at exactly a few minutes past nine to compete against Joplin.
The Bruin defended their undefeated record by defeating the Eagles by a final of 9-1. The bruins did not surrender a set in the singles contest and only came out on the wrong end of 19 of the 91 games played between each school’s top six players.
The bruins did not fare as well once three doubles matches between the schools got underway. They not only gave up a set but also the match at  number one doubles. The teams of Majors and Bozoian and of Horvit and Swift both scored straight sets victories at two and three doubles respectively.
Following the conclusion of the mornings contest, the Bruins had a little over an hour to rest and grab some lunch before they were set to host their second challenger of the day, the Edwardsville Tigers from Illinois.
In somewhat unusual fashion, the Bruins and Tigers were forced to start their dual with the doubles games to allow the Alabama Crimson Tide and Texas A&M Aggies to warm up prior to their SEC championship semi-final matchup at the green tennis center.
The Bruins, unable to overcome very strong net play by the Tigers team of Desse and Ware, dropped the doubles match at number one for the second time that day. The Bruins duo of Majors and Bozoian were again able to defeat their challengers and came away with the Bruins only victory in the doubles match-ups.
Things did not improve for the boys as they began their singles matches dropping five of the six singles matches with freshman Brian Baker owning the bruins lone victory.
The story of the afternoon though belonged to senior Nate Horvit who played a marathon match against Evansville’s Evan Weiler. Horvit captured the first set 6-4 and dropped the second 3-6 forcing a 10-point tiebreaker to decide it all. The Bruin’s number six fell behind early in the tiebreaker but battled back winning four straight points to close the score to 9-8. The two had an impressive point with Horvit’s seemingly tie breaker tying forehand  called out with the victory going to Weiler.
“It’s definitely tough,” Horvit said. “You just have to keep telling yourself ball after ball and point after point, and you can’t really get ahead of yourself like if I lost this point I’m going to lose this game or anything like that. You’ve just got to take it point by point and focus on the present and really grind it out.”
This is the second year in a row the Bruins have fallen to the Tigers in Columbia
“We knew what we were up against this year,” RBHS head coach Ben Loeb said. “But on the other hand, I thought over all our guys gave a real good account of themselves and hung in there and competed well and for the most part played well. It’s just the other team as John Kadlec, voice of the Missouri Tigers, once said, ‘sometimes you just get out horsed’ and the other team just had more horses than we did and sometimes that happens. That’s just the way it is.”
The Bruins will be back in action on Monday April 21st as they travel to St. Louis to take on Belleville East and West.
By Pen Terry