WEBSTER CITY - Everywhere Matt Manson looked yesterday afternoon, the story was the same, and it brought him to a pretty simple conclusion.
Ballard's tennis program is what he aspires to bring to Webster City.
But Manson, the Webster City head coach, knows the climb upward will be rocky at times, as it was yesterday throughout the Bombers' 9-0 dissection of his Lynx in a dual meet at the WCHS courts.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City freshman Blake Nelson charges the net to hit a volley during doubles play yesterday at the WCHS courts. Nelson and teammate Kenton Johnston dropped their No. 3 doubles match to Ballard’s Kordell Lettow and Alex Thomas, and the Bombers rolled to a 9-0 dual-meet victory over the Lynx.
Ballard won with ease in eight of the nine matches in somewhat windy conditions, allowing Manson and his players to head for home quite a bit earlier than they'd hoped.
"Ballard is a great team and they play a lot of tennis, and that's our goal, to build a strong tennis program like they already have," Manson said. "We have a ways to go though."
With 2011 state singles qualifier Peter Rietgraf leading the charge, Ballard captured four of the six singles matches by scores of either 10-0 or 10-1 in the pro-set scoring system. With his powerful first serve working well, Rietgraf had Jared Doolittle running from side to side and just trying to survive in a 10-1 conquest in the No. 1 match.
Tuesday at WCHS Courts
Ballard 9, Webster City 0
Peter Rietgraf (B) def. Jared Doolittle 10-1; Ryan Vincent (B) def. Derek Turner 10-7; Kordell Lettow (B) def. Tom Wangkham 10-3; Taylor Bridgewater (B) def. Chris Pergunde 10-0; Blake Mechaelsen (B) def. Dilan Griffin 10-1; Ryan Allen (B) def. Kenton Johnston 10-0.
Rietgraf/Vincent (B) def. Doolittle/Turner 10-4; Bridgewater/Mechaelsen (B) def. Pergunde/Griffin 10-1; Lettow/Alex Thomas (B) def. Johnston/Blake Nelson 10-1.
"Their No. 1 player was very good," Manson said of Rietgraf. "Last year he did really well and made it to state and he's looking pretty good again."
No. 2 singles player Derek Turner gave the Lynx their best chance at victory. He stood toe-to-toe with Ryan Vincent for much of the afternoon, swinging away from behind the baseline, but a few errors late cost him and allowed Vincent to prevail 10-7.
"Derek has been competitive all year and he battles his opponents deep into matches," Manson said. "He doesn't get discouraged easily, but now we would like to turn the corner where we can win those close battles."
Ballard's No. 3 player Kordell Lettow knocked off Tom Wangkham 10-3.
Doolittle and Turner had the most success in the three doubles matches; they took four games off Rietgraf and Vincent.
WCHS will be back at home on Thursday for another stern test against Fort Dodge St. Edmond and its two-time Class 1A state singles runner-up Aaron Chalstrom. The Lynx will also be at home against Iowa Falls-Alden on Monday and South Hardin on Tuesday before they gear up for 1A district play in Fort Dodge next Thursday.
"We have a week to hopefully improve so we're ready for tournament action because I think we can go farther than we did last year," Manson said.