WEBSTER CITY - Overcast conditions played in Webster City's favor during the early stages of its dual meet with Grundy Center yesterday at the WCHS courts.
And then the storm clouds rolled in, literally and figuratively.
An early Webster City lead in singles play evaporated as darkness began to set in, and the Spartans controlled two of the three doubles matches to secure the dual-meet victory, 5-4.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City No. 5 singles player Christian Hippen rips a first serve during his match against Grundy Center’s AJ Stanley last night at the WCHS courts. Hippen claimed a 10-5 victory, but the Spartans captured the dual, 5-4.
"Tennis is a game of momentum like most sports. You have to not only win against your opponent, but you have to win the mental game with yourself," WCHS head coach Matt Manson said after his club dipped to 0-2. "We are still learning how to win the mental game with ourselves. It will come with more success and time, but it is always tough to lose a close match."
Derek Turner and Tom Wangkham pushed WCHS out to an early 2-0 advantage with dominant singles wins.
Turner blasted one forehand winner after another down the line and past Tyler Erdell to roll to a 10-3 win in the No. 2 position.
Thursday at WCHS Courts
Grundy Center 5, Webster City 4
Riley Wells (GC) def. Jared Doolittle 10-8.
Derek Turner (WC) def. Tyler Erdell 10-3.
Tom Wangkham (WC) def. Brett Boren 10-3.
Ethan Hogle (GC) def. Dilan Griffin 10-4.
Christian Hippen (WC) def. AJ Stanley 10-5.
Andrew Day (GC) def. Kenton Johnson 10-7.
Wells/Boren (GC) def. Doolittle/Turner 11-9.
Erdell/Hogle (GC) def. Wangkham/Griffin 10-5.
Hippen/Johnson (WC) def. Stanley/Day 10-8.
Wangkham, the Lynx No. 3 player, was steady and kept the ball on the court, as he forced Brett Boren into a multitude of mistakes in a 10-3 rout.
Grundy Center notched wins at the Nos. 4 and 6 spots to tie the contest at 2. Ethan Hogle dispatched Dilan Griffin, 10-4, and Andrew Day served his way past Kenton Johnson 10-7.
The Lynx went back in front 3-2, courtesy of a 10-5 triumph by No. 5 player Christian Hippen over AJ Stanley, and they appeared well on their way to a 4-2 singles lead as No. 1 player Jared Doolittle ran out to an 8-3 lead on Riley Wells.
And then Wells caught fire.
The service returns that smacked into the center of the net early on suddenly screamed over the barrier and caught lines for Wells, and there was little Doolittle could do to stop the bleeding. Wells rattled off the final seven games to win 10-8 to draw even at 3, and it gave the Spartans the boost of confidence they needed to control the doubles bouts.
"Jared got off to a great start," Manson said. "(But) playing (No. 1) for a tennis team can be very challenging and full of pressure. Jared is a team leader and has willingly accepted this role for his team (and) by the end of the year, Jared will become more seasoned and confident at all aspects of tennis."
Hippen was the lone WCHS player to go 2-0; he teamed with Johnson to win the No. 3 doubles match over Stanley and Day, 10-8.
The Lynx will return to the courts on Monday when they'll travel to Clear Lake to face the Lions.