By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy tennis coach Mark Goldner isn’t necessarily concerned with rankings.
Getting a chance to play a division rival before division play actually begins, though? As well as earning a chance to get a look at potential district tournament competition? He’ll take all of that.
The Trojans — who won their first division title since 2003 last season, dethroning perennial champion Butler — took on the Aviators in a non-league match to begin play in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Team Tournament Friday at Troy High Schoool, sweeping them 5-0 to advance to the next round while getting an early look at brand new Butler team this year.
“It is (beneficial),” Goldner said when asked about playing the Aviators before their Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division match, which isn’t until April 25. “But it’s the team tournament, so it’s kind of the luck of the draw. We could’ve played Beavercreek or Fairmont or Centerville — you never know.”
And with the Trojans ranked third in the first Miami Valley Tennis Coaches Association rankings this week, behind No. 1 Centerville and No. 2 Beavercreek and ahead of No. 4 Springboro, it also presented this year’s Troy team a chance to show what it was capable of.
Troy won its fourth straight since an opening day 3-2 loss at Centerville, making the Trojans 4-1 on the season. The Trojans will travel to Fairmont on Monday — the No. 5 team in those MVTCA rankings.
“I don’t worry about that stuff,” Goldner said of the rankings. “Our main goal is to win the league first. We play all of the good teams in the area just so we get better along the way.”
It was also Troy’s first match since getting rained out halfway through a match against Tecumseh on Wednesday. The Trojans’ American League crossover matchup against Trotwood on Thursday was also rained out — and though the Friday forecast had called for colder temperatures early in the week, the only thing that ended up being a factor was a strong, chilly wind that changed speeds and direction at random throughout the match.
“Their coach and I could have said, well, when we get to 3-0, we’re done,” Goldner said. “But everybody needs to play. We had a day off yesterday.
“Oh yeah (the wind was frustrating). But that’s the way it is in the spring. At least it got sunny — but I think the sun bothered everyone on this side of the court, because there were no clouds, clear skies, and it was hard to see. But they’ve got to know how to fight through it.”
At first singles, Troy’s Shane Essick and Butler’s Brandon Kreger both battled the wind and the sun, but it was Essick that came out on top with a 6-3, 6-2 victory. And at second singles, Elijah Sadler defeated Troy Luken 6-2, 6-2 in the final two matches on the courts.
Andrew Magoteaux made short work of Riley Dunaway at third singles, winning 6-0, 6-0. Second doubles was next through their match as Nathan Kleptz and Anoop Patel blanked Jones Kanak and Jeremy Midlam 6-0, 6-0. And at first doubles, Nick Prus and Jack Johnston clinched the win early with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Ross Fike and Leland Skapik.
Last season, the Trojans defeated Butler 4-1 and swept the rest of their division opponents to claim the title. Troy is currently 2-0 in the American North, with 5-0 Greenville atop the division at 3-0.
Troy travels to Fairmont Monday and West Carrollton Tuesday before returning home to face Miamisburg on Wednesday. And in the next round of the OTCA Team Tournament, the Trojans will travel to Sycamore, with that match’s date yet to be determined.
“The neat thing is we’ll go down and play Cincinnati Sycamore next, and that’s great,” Goldner said. “It’s great to go down there, see where they play and how they play. We haven’t been down there since 1999.”
And with Troy boasting the returning sectional champions in both singles and doubles between Essick, Magoteaux and Prus, Goldner knows how important that experience could be in the postseason.
“They’re going to want to see it (how Sycamore plays),” Goldner said. “It should help Shane a lot. I was hoping we would get this match in today so we would get the opportunity to go down there.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.