The Greenback boys’ tennis team broke out the broom with a sweep at Russell more than a week ago and kept cleaning the courts for the next two meets at Chaparral on Tuesday, April 16 and Kingman on Friday, April 19. The Pratt High netters have won a combined 34 straight matches without a loss.
“Admittedly this isn’t our toughest run of meets, but the guys have been playing very well. We’ve seen some good competition here and there and they’ve risen to every challenge,” said coach Larry Kahmeyer. “You can’t win 34 straight matches without playing good tennis.”
Tuesday’s action saw Pratt take the Chaparral-hosted meet with 24 points, defeating Conway Springs (13), Chaparral (11), Haven (7), Douglass (6) and South Barber (3).
Heading to a windy Kingman on Friday, the boys racked up 27 points while sweeping Circle (12), Kingman (12) and South Barber (2).
Pratt’s lead singles player Thomas Mayberry is now 15-1 on the season after handling all recent challengers. He didn’t drop a game at Chaparral but found a little tougher competition in Circle’s Tony Treweeke at Kingman. Down 1-3, then 2-4, Thomas pulled it together to take the next six of seven games to win 8-5.
“Thomas’ game is built on consistency and keeping his opponents moving and guessing, but the wind on Friday had him playing tentatively,” said Kahmeyer. “A lot of his shots were falling short, pulling Treweeke up to the net where he’s pretty skilled. Still, Thomas did what he needed to do to gut out the win.”
Fellow singles player Jonathan Schotte has amassed an impressive season record of 13-3 while winning 48 of his last 55 games. His most impressive win of late was at the expense of Circle’s Josh Larson at Kingman.
“Watching Larson warm up concerned me a little,” reflected Kahmeyer. “He came off of a good doubles team with Treweeke last year and can hit good ground strokes and volleys. He’s a solid player, but Jonny completely dismantled him. To be honest, I was a bit shocked that the 8-1 win was so decisive, but Jonathan figured out how to handle him, and he did so in no uncertain terms.”
At the #1 doubles spot, Liam Kahmeyer and Christian Kurz continued their dominant run. Now 13-1 on the season, the duo has recent quality wins over Ellsworth’s Bahan and Bahr (6-2) and Conway’s Davis and Koch (8-2). The Pratt pair easily handled their Circle and Kingman opponents on Friday, giving away a stingy three games.
“Liam and Christian keep refining their play with improved service games and strong net play. When they are fired up, they can knock their opponents on their heels quickly and it’s fun to watch. Moving toward our league and regional meets, I wish they had some stronger competition to face right now, but they’re working on some specifics in practice that will help push them.”
Page 2 of 2 - At 14-2 on the season, number two doubles partners Shivam Bhakta and Trae Foreman are holding up their end of the bargain, as well. The pair hasn’t dropped a set since Smoky Valley and won the last 48 of 56 games at Chaparral and Kingman.
“If there has been a pleasant surprise on the season, Shiv and Trae have been it,” Kahmeyer said. “They’ve grown the most where they needed to… in confidence. Like Liam and Christian, I’d like to them to have to face some bigger challenges, but they’re getting better with every meet and I look forward to seeing them play as we head into the second half of our season.”
Weather permitting, the Greenbacks travel to Larned today to face some familiar competition in Ellinwood, Ellsworth, Larned and Ulysses at 1 p.m.