Waynesville was able to control singles against Lebanon for a 5-4 comeback win.
Waynesville Tennis took another win in a rescheduled dual against Lebanon, 5-4 on Thursday, March 29. This wet weather has negatively impacted the Tiger’s practice time, which made walking into this match a bit of a worry. With a very intense match-up between Waynesville and Lebanon, the declaration of a team win lasted all the way up to the last match of the night. The Tigers fell behind early, losing two of the three Varsity doubles matches. Then, dropping the first two singles matches on courts 4 and 5, the Tigers had fallen into a tough position, knowing they couldn’t lose any more matches to take a W. Despite the loss, Aarron Emperato played well tonight. Moving up from JV last year, Emperato has had to not only play at the #1 doubles position, but he has also had to play up a spot on the rank order due to Shawn Berrios’ ankle injury. Aarron has handled this adjustment well. He is a natural athlete. Also a football player, Emperato has increased the strength behind his forehand and serve from last year. Playing with Sneed has been good for him and has allowed him to start reading the court better. I’m excited to watch him continue to grow in his game this season.
Sitting at a 1-4 team score, the Tigers knew they had to fight their way out of a hole. On courts 1 and 6, David Sneed and Andrew Esguerra both started off behind their opponents, but made comebacks to both finish 8-4. Cameron Martell took a quick win to his opponent, 8-2. On court 2, Tyler Gayman had me sweating bullets. Starting off ahead, Tyler had taken his Yellowjacket opponent by storm. Frustration soon took over him, however, and small errors forced Tyler to start dropping game after game. I knew this match would end up being the deciding factor for the Tiger win. I have always trusted Tyler in intense matches. He knows how to get the job done. This match, however, was a mind game. Typically, it is very difficult for a tennis player to pull their way out of a losing streak after they starting beating themselves up mentally. Fortunately, tonight I was able to witness a very rare occurrence among tennis players. Tyler was eventually able to calm himself down, move on, and focus his way to an 8-6 victory. It was a proud coach moment. This is a very difficult position to be in, and it shows a lot of maturity for a tennis player to fight his way back from a self-inflicted, mental beating. This gives me even greater hope for Tyler’s future in this program.
The Tigers will come back from Easter break for a home match against Salem on Tuesday before the Varsity Tigers go on to compete in the Lebanon/Camdenton pooled tournament on Thursday and Friday of next week.
David Sneed vs. Bryson Crowell, 8-4
Tyler Gayman vs. Cade Winfrey, 8-6
Cameron Martell vs. Lane Hisel, 8-2
Aarron Emperato vs. Zach Stubblefield, 3-8
Caleb Andrews vs. Nathaniel Smith, 0-8
Andrew Esguerra vs. Cody Martin, 8-4
Sneed/Emperato vs. Crowell/Winfrey, 3-8
Gayman/Martell vs. Hisel/Martin, 8-3
Andrews/Esguerra vs. Stubblefield/Smith, 3-8