By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Troy tennis coach Mark Goldner isn’t used to having undecided position battles still hanging after the start of the season.
“Tomorrow, it ends,” Goldner said with a laugh.
Nathan Kleptz and Jackson Goodall — former doubles teammates and the only two returning varsity players off of last year’s team — are still battling it out for the first and second singles spots three matches into the season, but after the Trojans topped Chaminade Julienne 4-1 on Wednesday and Fairborn 5-0 on Thursday, the duo will finally settle things in a third trial match between the two Friday morning.
“It just has to get settled,” Goldner said. “And they understand. In all the years I’ve done this, I don’t think it’s ever gone into the season, especially for No. 1 and 2.”
Kleptz and Goodall have split two trial matches so far, both of which have gone to a third-set tiebreaker. Twice they were scheduled to settle the score, but both times the weather intervened. The latest was supposed to happen on Wednesday, but Monday’s opener against Chaminade Julienne was rained out and rescheduled to that day, moving the rubber match one last time.
“It’s been kind of stressful,” Kleptz said. “I was nervous two weeks ago now, but we’ve beat each other by pretty much the same score even. We had it set up to go at the end of last week, but the weather didn’t work out, so we’ve prolonged it even more. But we’re set to do it tomorrow now, and I’m excited for it — and it’s been nice to play some other people in between, that’s for sure.”
“At first, two weeks ago when we first played, I figured it’ll go however it goes,” Goodall said. “He won the first set, then I won the next set and third-set tiebreak. Then the next day we played again, I won the first set and he won the next two, so it was pretty much the exact opposite. We’ve been trying to get that third match in, but the weather hasn’t cooperated.”
Both juniors, Kleptz and Goodall played as second doubles teammates a handful of times their freshman year before taking over at first doubles last season. After the Trojans graduated five seniors, though, the pair brings back the most varsity experience, leaving them fighting for first and second singles this year.
“It’s been weird,” Kleptz said. “We’ve played with each other since I can remember. When we were little, we took lessons together even. It kind of sucks that that’s who I’m up against, but either way we’ll get a solid first singles out of it, so I can’t really complain.”
“It’s been fun but also not fun at the same time,” Goodall said. “But tomorrow, rain or not, we’ll play and see how it goes. If I lose to him, I’d be upset but not that upset.”
Both of them lost in the opening match against Centerville. Wednesday against Chaminade Julienne, though, both won as Troy claimed a 4-1 victory in its home opener.
At first singles, Kleptz defeated Sam Kohls 6-0, 6-0, and at second singles Goodall defeated Connor Koeur 6-2, 6-1. The Eagles’ lone win came at third singles, where Wyatt Hench lost to Will Marshall 6-1, 6-0.
At first doubles, Sean Dippold and Noah George defeated Joe Allaiva and John Muhl 6-1, 6-1. At second doubles, Henry Johnston and Spencer Short defeated Bryce Foster and Allen Eads 6-0, 6-2.
And Thursday, the Trojans opened Greater Western Ohio Conference American League crossover play against Fairborn, sweeping the Skyhawks 5-0.
At first singles, Kleptz defeated Nghi Nguyen 6-0, 6-0. At second singles, Goodall defeated Caleb Smith 6-1, 6-1. At third singles, Genki Masunaga defeated Janiel Buita 6-0, 6-3.
At first doubles, Dippold and George defeated Silas Smith and Theophane Pradelle 6-0, 6-0. At second doubles, Johnston and Short defeated Wylie Parker and Sam Steck 6-0, 6-1.
And even with the first and second singles spots still undecided, Goldner was happy that the Trojans got to start the season against a quality team like Centerville.
“You just learn so much playing against a good team like that,” he said. “Now, I hope, we can do some things in practice, or have first doubles drill against Nathan and Jackson, because they’re going to see some teams that can hit and they’ve got to be ready for it. We’re young, and we learned a lot of things in that match.”
The Trojans (2-1, 1-0 GWOC American North Division) will get more competition and more lessons next week — Troy opens next week on the road at Fairmont, with a four-team tournament at Schroeder’s Tennis Center to cap it off.
“Fairmont is always a 3-2 battle one way or the other,” Goldner said. “And Saturday, we have a four-team tournament with us, Lima Shawnee, Sidney and Bellbrook. It’ll be a round-robin where everyone gets to play everyone, which is real good. Everyone will see some real good competition, and that’ll be a good experience for us.”
And by then, the lineup will be set, too.
“One way or another, that ends tomorrow,” Goldner said.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.