Maroons tennis kicks off season with split | Sports | #sports | #elderly | #seniors
EagleHerald Sports Editor
MARINETTE—The Menominee boys tennis team opened their season getting swept by Escanaba on Tuesday before flipping the script in a 6-0 sweep of Gladstone on Thursday at the REC Center in Marinette.
Tuesday and Thursday’s matches were the first on-court action for the Maroons since 2019 due to COVID-19 shutting down the 2020 season before it had even begun.
“Everyone is excited to be back and to have the chance to play tennis,” Menominee head coach Sam Larson said. “We have some of the guys that we had from a few years ago returning as starters, but we also have nine freshmen and some of them have never played tennis before. They’re excited to actually go out and play against someone other than their own teammates in practice. We gathered a really good group of athletic kids. We have a lot of guys that are three-sport athletes and even if they’re a little raw in the tennis aspect, you can make up for a lot by being athletic.”
The Maroons return four seniors, two juniors and two sophomores from the 2019 season.
On Tuesday, one of those seniors, Felipe Zamora, was defeated 5-7, 2-3 by Escanaba’s Gunner Dlugas in No. 1 singles play, but rebounded on Thursday by taking care of the Braves’ Rane Castor 6-2, 6-0.
Jason Bowers, who will occupy the No. 2 singles position for Menominee, struggled against Esky’s Shaun Beauchamp on Tuesday (0-6, 1-6) but came back strong on Thursday with a 7-5, 4-6 victory against Gladstone’s Peter Noblet.
“This is Felipe’s third year playing tennis for us and he’s gotten a lot better since his freshman year. Jason is another senior playing his third year of tennis and he’s come a long way as well,” Larson said. “I was really happy with the improvement I saw over the course of the week. I thought Felipe, Jason and Brock (Murphy) all showed some steadiness at the singles positions.”
Murphy, a sophomore, plays the No. 3 singles spot for the Maroons and took care of Gladstone’s Zach Brazeau 6-0, 6-1 on Thursday after falling to Esky’s Isaac Maki 3-6, 3-4 on Thursday.
Fellow sophomore Danny Birch teamed up with junior Aidan Bellise in No. 1 doubles action, with the pair losing 1-6, 0-6 to Viktor Pospisill and Ryan Moreau on Tuesday before getting the better of Carter Hedman and Sean Sailer (2-6, 7-5) on Thursday.
“Brock and Danny didn’t get to play last year but they’ve shown a lot of promise early in practice,” Larson said. “They do a good job keeping the ball in the play.”
Larson said Bellise and junior Brady Schultz, who missed Menominee’s first two games, will be the Maroons No.1 doubles team.
“Our juniors, Aidan and Brady Schultz, are our No. 1 doubles team and they have experience from being our No. 3 doubles team as freshman,” he said. “They’re both long and athletic and the potential is there for them. They just need to refine their games and become more consistent.”
Freshmen Trevor Theuerkauf and Nathan Schultz form Menominee’s No. 2 doubles duo. The pair started the season on the wrong foot with a 1-6, 1-6 loss to the Eskymos’ Jordan Nance and Trevor McDonald. Theuerkauf and Connor Coduti were able to get into the win column with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Gladstone’s Dragan Graham and Chad Britton on Thursday.
“Our doubles teams took tremendous strides from Tuesday to Thursday,” Larson said. “Trevor and Connor did a great job of attacking the net and using their athleticism to make plays.”
Menominee’s all-freshmen No. 3 doubles team of Aaron Brunelle and Coduti suffered a 3-6, 0-6 loss to Troy Delvaux and Brady Pierce on Tuesday but responded on Thursday with Schultz and Liam Sorenson taking down of Isaac Berthaume and Sam Jensen 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday.
“Nathan has really good mechanics and good motion. Trevor is just a real good athlete with good hand-eye coordination. He seems to have a good serve and good ground strokes,” Larson said. “Then there’s Connor, who hasn’t played tennis before but since the first day of practice has come out and done some nice things.”
The Maroons travel to Kingsford on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m.
No. 1 Dlugas (E) def. Zamora (M) 7-5, 3-2; No. 2 Beauchamp (E) def. Bowers (M) 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 Maki € def. Murphy (M) 6-3, 4-3.
No. 1 Pospisill/Moreau (E) def. Bellise/Birch (M) 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 Nance/McDonald (E) def. Theuerkauf/Schultz 6-1, 6-1; No. 3 Delaux/Pierce (E) def. Brunelle/Coduti (M) 6-3, 6-0.
No. 1 Zamora (M) def. Castor (G) 6-2, 6-0; No. 2 Bowers (M) def. Noblet (G) 7-5, 4-6; No. 3 Murphy (M) def. Brazeau (G) 6-0, 6-1.
No. 1 Bellise/Birch (M) def. Hedman/Sailer (G) 2-6, 7-5; No. 2 Theuerkauf/Coduti (M) def. Graham/Britton (G) 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Schultz/Sorenson (M) def. Berthaume/Jensen (G) 6-1, 6-1.