After having won the Russell tournament for two years running, the best the illness-weakened Greenback boys’ tennis team could manage on Friday was a 2nd place finish.

After having won the Russell tournament for two years running, the best the illness-weakened Greenback boys’ tennis team could manage on Friday was a 2nd place finish. Hoisington took top honors with 32 points, followed by Pratt (25), Ellinwood and Colby (18), and Russell (7). Trego was scheduled to play but was a no-show so the tournament moved faster than normal.

Disappointed to lose the 1st place team streak, but still pleased with his players’ efforts, coach Larry Kahmeyer said, “With the exception of a few matches, we did about as well as we could. Our doubles teams continue to be our strength and our singles players are gaining valuable experience that will pay off down the road.”

Senior partners Liam Kahmeyer and Christian Kurz rolled to a 4-0 finish to climb to 10-1 on the season. In dominating Ellinwood 7-1, Colby 7-2, Hoisington 7-3, and Russell 7-0, the men weren’t seriously challenged.

“Liam and Christian are working on increased serve percentage and down-the-line passing shots in practice and are seeing the dividends in competition. Hoisington was the strongest team we played, but they still won handily. I expect them to get stronger and stronger as we go – they’ll be a serious team to face in the middle to late part of our season,” Kahmeyer said.

Fellow seniors Evan Fowler and David Parmar had an early scare, but righted the ship to run out the day 4-0. After an easy 7-1 win over Ellinwood , the boys fell behind 2-4 to Colby. After a change-over conference to regroup, the Pratt pair ran off five games to take a 7-4 win. The next matches over Hoisington (7-0) and Russell (7-3) were easier wins to complete a perfect day.

“I’m always pleased when the guys have to face some challenge or adversity and are forced to adjust. When the wins come too easily, not much is learned. Evan and David were getting frustrated in the second match when they weren’t playing their best. After mastering their emotions and frustrations, they were able to get back to business,” said Kahmeyer. “It was a good lesson for them and they responded the way I wanted them to.”

The singles players had a tougher day with the absence of Matt Loomis, sidelined with a fever. Junior Ethan Sharp jumped up to the #1 spot and Jacob Schaefer bumped up from JV to fill the #2 spot.

In taking the Trego default win and then dropping matches to Ellinwood 0-7, Colby 1-7, and Hoisington 0-7, Sharp managed a 1-3 record in the tougher #1 position.

Schaefer ended up with the same 1-3 record, but came very close to inverting that. After losing his first round 4-7 to Ellinwood, Schaefer lost two heart-breaking tiebreakers to Colby 6-7 (6) and Hoisington 6-7 (0) before holding on for a 7-4 win over Russell.

“On paper, the singles guys had a rough day…but I’m very proud of how they played. Ethan jumped in the deep end to fill Matt’s shoes and played the best he’s played yet. His groundstrokes are much better than at the start of the season, and while he didn’t win many games, he’s battling and learning how to fight for points,” said Kahmeyer. “Jacob very nearly won three matches instead of one and learned a lot. It was tough watching him drop those two tiebreakers, but he handled it well and won his last match. It might be baptism by fire for both men, but they are growing by leaps and bounds.”

In their next action, the Greenback netters head to the Sterling Quad on Tuesday, taking to the courts at 3 p.m.