Boys tennis earns well-fought victory versus HHS


Photo by Joan Kwon

Brandt Stewart, Sports Editor

The RBHS Boys’ Tennis team competed against the Hickman High School (HHS) Kewpies at Bethel Park April 26, 2022, succeeding in a three-out-of-three win in their doubles standoff and a five-out-of-six win in their singles lineup.

While the windy weather may have normally been a challenge for the Bruins, it did not phase their performance. All three doubles matches commenced simultaneously, each doubles pair beginning their matches somewhat slowly in terms of play style with no volleys, but nevertheless presenting a fair performance in scoring. 

A relatively quick battle occurred on the westernmost court, while the others were slightly more hard-fought, the Kewpies slowly ebbing from RBHS as the matches continued. Nonetheless, the Bruins steadily increased the score to their advantage with several mounting ‘put away’ balls, as referred to by Head Coach Ben Loeb.

“I thought we put a lot of balls in play. That’s a critical part of it,” Loeb said. “We just made balls and you know, in one and two doubles, you have to be able to do something with the ball, and I thought we did a good job of doing something with the ball and yet still making balls.”

The first sightable volley was on the third court, where sophomore Joseph Paetzold and freshman Rohan Puri represented the Bruins. The barrage of hits ended with a point to HHS, but this small victory for the Kewpies did not affect the Bruins in the outcome of their match.

“I think [the match] went well. [Overall as a team] we won 8-1,” Paetzold said. “I know [HHS is] not at its bestthey’ve been better in past yearsbut today was a good day.”

The other two matches also showed promise, providing little to no leeway for the Kewpies in point-count, and featuring another well-executed, but ultimately unsuccessful volley for the Bruins. 

“I’d like to see our guys do a little better job of scoring points at the net and putting away volleys,” Loeb said. “I think that’s an area we can improve upon, and for some of our guys, just a little higher first-serve percentage and return-serve percentage.”

The easternmost courts continued hosting matches for some time after Paetzold and Puri’s victory, drawing Loeb’s attention. He constantly hovered over the remaining matches, issuing remarks of suggestive improvement to aid the last two teams to a hopeful two more victories.

Paetzold and Puri’s segment of play was foreboding regarding the composition of the matches after theirs, all of them displaying fair instances of racket-wielding that resulted in a culmination of exponential point-gathering.

“[The Kewpies] hit an easy ball into the air,” Paetzold said. “I had a nice overhead and put it away—easy point.”

Coming to a close, the remaining matches proved to be of a similar outcome to the first finished match, all ending in variously gapped wins in the favor of the Bruins.

“In number two doubles, we had a 5-0 lead, and then it got to 5-2, and I thought winning that next game was critical to get it to 6-2, because if they won next game, and its 5-3, they’ve won three games in a row, they’ve got some momentum and a belief that they could turn it around,” Loeb said. “I think that was a big momentum stop and switch towards our team again in number two doubles when we went from 5-0 to 5-2 to 6-2, winning that game at 6-2.”

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