The Waynesville Tigers took a very close victory over Houston 5-4 on Tuesday, April 10.
Our most intense match yet, the Tigers fought all the way to the end, declaring the team victory in a tiebreaker for the last match of the night. With our number one David Sneed missing, everyone bumped up one spot in the lineup. Any loss in players puts us at a disadvantage in a match. Missing your number one, however, is extremely painful on the rest of the team. The means that every single player is teamed up against someone who is ranked higher than them. That is a difficult position to come back from.
The Tigers led 2-1 after doubles. Despite the loss, number one doubles team, Tyler Gayman and Cameron Martell, put up a fight. Slow to get warmed up, the Tigers dropped fast to a 2-6 score. They make a major comeback, however, winning the next four games in a row and ending 6-8 just below their Houston opponents.
Moving into singles, number three Shawn Berrios and number two Cameron Martell ended at the same time with split results. Cameron played a great match, beating his opponent easily 8-4. Shawn played his best match yet, just falling 5-8. Shawn has improved so much since last season. His serves have improved, his lobs were phenomenal and he’s really grown in his ability to read the court well. Every match he plays is so intense and fun to watch. He always puts up a fight and does it with a smile on his face. Taking losses on courts one and four, the Tigers were behind for the first time of the night. Tyler Gayman played a very hard match tonight in the number one spot. Very similar to his doubles match, Tyler fell behind quickly, but made a strong comeback to only fall 6-8. This kid is a fighter on the court. Even in frustrating situations, Tyler gives every match his very best. He has an amazing sense of character and plays with integrity, even when he can’t say the same about his opponents. He’s the type of kid every coach hopes to have on their team.
At this point in the match, we were behind in our other two matchups still on court and it was looking like we were going to take our very first team loss against Houston. Waynesville tennis fights to the end of every match though. Andrew Esguerra bumped up to Varsity tonight and made a remarkable comeback as well. Behind the whole match, Esguerra fought his way to take an 8-6 victory. Now tied 4-4, the fate of the Tigers was lying in Caleb Andrews hands. Caleb followed his opponent by one game the entire match before tying the match 7-7 in the end. He could not have been better matched with his opponent. With long rallies for each point, the Tigers watched intensely as Caleb fought for his team. Losing the next game, Caleb trailed 7-8. Only one game loss would mean a team defeat overall. Caleb tied the match 8-8, however, sending him and his opponent into a tiebreaker. With his entire team standing behind him, Caleb remained patient and level-headed, taking a 7-5 tiebreak victory and solidifying a team win for the Tigers. This matchup could not have been closer. Bringing our team record to 6-3, the Tigers will take the road Thursday to Lebanon for one of our most important matches of the season. This match will play a major factor in our District seedings in post-season play. Following Lebanon, the Tigers will end the week in Richland on Friday. The match against Lebanon was not completed at press time.
Tyler Gayman vs. Isaiah Buse, 6-8
Cameron Martell vs. Kyler Ramsey, 8-4
Shawn Berrios vs. Grady Todd, 5-8
Aarron Emperato vs. Trenton Smith, 3-8
Caleb Andrews vs. Kyle Mills, 9-8 (7-5)
Andrew Esguerra vs. Elliot Clark, 8-6
Gayman/Martell vs. Buse/Ramsey, 6-8
Berrios/Emperato vs. Todd/Smith, 8-4
Andrews/Esguerra vs. Mills/Janae Huff, 9-7