15 and counting

15+and+counting

Elinor Stanley

[heading size=”10″ margin=”10″]Tennis hopes to move past districts in postseason action[/heading]The Rock Bridge boys tennis team prepares to continue its dynasty. For 15 consecutive years, the Bruins hoisted the district championship trophy.
After the girls tennis team went 19-0 and took home a state title this fall, head coach Ben Loeb looks to achieve the same success on the boys side.
The Bruins have established a favorable first seed position for the district tournament, drawing a first-
round bye and facing Grain Valley Tuesday.
However, the road to the state championship match is a long one. If the Bruins are victorious at districts this week, the team moves on to sectionals, and then the state quarterfinals where a win would put the boys in place to play at the Missouri State High School Sports Athletic Association championships.
Though there is a long road ahead, the team is ready to play.
“We couldn’t be having a better season. We’ve gone with only one loss so far, beating quality teams like Barstow and Blue Valley North, but Rockhurst is our biggest rival, the team to beat,” sophomore John Swift, No. 5, said. “I think this team has the potential to win state, but we have to approach each opponent differently, as well as constantly adapt to each team.”
Having lost to their rival Rockhurst in the regular season, the Bruins will be looking forward to Rockhurst at state. Rockhurst, as of May 6th, is 6-1 on the season going into districts. Their district, however, is different from the Bruins, so the only way for a rematch between the two is farther into the postseason.
Freshman Ashwath Elangovan, No. 4 on varsity, couldn’t agree more with Swift.
“We are playing really well right now, and our team has so much potential to be great,” Elangovan said. “Rockhurst, again, is our biggest competitor with a really solid team. We will have to fight for every point, as well as change the game plan for every match.”
The pressure to win is on for sophomore Brian Baker, who plays No. 2 varsity, but not as much as expected, even though this could be the team’s 15th final four appearance.
“Both the Rock Bridge boys and girls teams are well known as successful teams in tennis, but there isn’t any pressure from the girls,” Baker said. “There is always pressure to do well, but no more than there usually is for us this season.”
The postseason has already begun, and the boys are doing all they can to get ready.
“We need to remain mentally tough during matches,” Baker said. “It can give us a huge advantage by helping us overcome adversity during the way higher pressure of the postseason.”
Senior Rohit Rao, who plays No. 1 varsity, feels, unlike Baker, that competitive spirit is what will put the Bruins in the top spot.
“We really need to work the aggression in doubles so we can come out with a lead in singles,” Rao said, “Then in singles we can work on our focus and competitive fight, so we can win the closer matches because every win counts.”
The other teams in the tournament are Hickman (12-4), Battle (0-7) and Jefferson City (16-3). The Bruins have already defeated the Kewpies and the Spartans 9-0 and 4-0 respectively, while defeating the Jays 9-0 in the first match, and 7-2 in the second match.
By Elinor Stanley