By NEIL PIERSON
Even without its star player, the Medical Lake boys tennis team racked up some solid results last week.
With No. 1 seed Max Nelson out of the singles lineup due to illness, the Cardinals did a little shuffling in a non-league match at Lewis and Clark and the Great Northern League opener at Deer Park. While LC, one of the Greater Spokane League's traditional powers, managed to eke out a 4-3 victory, the Cards' revamped lineup buried the Stags 6-1.
“We had some good matches,” ML coach Leroy Lemaster said. “For the first (contests) of the year, I'm really happy with it because we have a lot of young kids.”
Senior Dallon Bogart moved into the No. 1 spot in place of Nelson. Against LC's Nick Johnson, he fought hard but lost 7-5, 4-6, 1-6 in a 2-hour, 10-minute match.
In other results from LC last Tuesday, senior Jeremy Marinos lost 4-6, 2-6 to Zach Williams. Freshman Leon Johnson moved out of the doubles lineup for a 6-3, 6-0 beatdown of Hank Sanburn, while senior Matt Moroni was a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 winner over Jason Zanven.
In doubles play, ML's top team of Tyler Lemasters and Noel Ayos won a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 decision against Joey Halstead and Colin Moravec. Chris Davis and Danny Klopfenstein lost 5-7, 4-6 to Brandon Louden and Blake Jones, while Shane Fouts and Bryan Smith lost 4-6, 2-6 to Barclay Klingel and Greg Sullivan.
In Thursday's contest at Deer Park, the Cards sealed the victory by sweeping the singles matches. Bogart was a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Ben Graisy, Marinos beat Matt Hunter 6-3, 6-4, Johnson beat Josh Graisy 7-5, 6-3 and Moroni obliterated Justin Hook, 6-0, 6-0.
The award for best recovery of the week went to Lemasters and Ayos, who lost badly in the first game of their match with Avery Mitchell and Mitch Kearny. Playing against two seniors, the ML freshman and sophomore duo found their “Cardinal pride” and won 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“They were trying to do too much that first set and I just tried to get them to relax and play their game,” Lemaster said.
Davis and Klopfenstein were 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victors over Greg Schueller and Jason Henning, while Fouts and Smith lost their match to Charles Rathdrum and Seth Rooney, 4-6, 3-6.
The Cards returned to the courts Tuesday at Riverside (results available next week) and host Pullman on Thursday. Next week, they host Cheney on Tuesday and travel to Clarkston on Thursday.
Neil Pierson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org