By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — With its entire lineup finally set in stone, the Troy tennis team has spent this week settling into a routine at last.
Lehman, meanwhile, knew it would see two of its toughest matches of the season over the past two days.
The two met on Wednesday at Troy High School, with the Trojans putting away their fifth straight victory by defeating the Cavaliers 5-0 in non-league play.
For Troy (5-1), it was the third match since the final playoff between Nathan Kleptz and Jackson Goodall for first and second singles. The two had split two close trial matches before, but this time Kleptz was able to win both sets — both in close tiebreaker — to claim first singles.
“We’ve got our lineup set now,” Troy coach Mark Goldner said. “That had to get taken care of, and we’re finally starting to settle in and play a little better at all positions.
“They’re both right there. And they both handled it well, too. I was really happy with the way they’ve handled everything. They both kind of knew it just had to be done. And guess what? If you’re playing one or two, they both count for one point. And both of those points are real important.”
For Lehman (3-3), it was the second straight day of taking on some of the stiffest competition it will see all season. Tuesday, the Cavs took on Milton-Union, which boasts two returning state qualifiers from Division II last season.
“These past two days, we’ve played two of the toughest three teams we’ll have all year, along with Centerville black later,” Lehman coach Tim Ungericht said. “If we play weaker teams every match of the year, yes, it’s going to pad our record, but what are we going to learn from it?”
And while Troy lost five seniors to graduation in the offseason, Lehman’s losses were just as tough.
“We lost all three singles and half of first doubles,” Ungericht said. “Considering what we lost, to be 3-3 — with all three of our losses to really good schools — Wapakoneta is good, and we lost to them 3-2 — to come that close and be 3-3, it’s really good.
“I try to work with our JV kids as much as the varsity, because when you lose kids, those kids will step up and take over. Max (Schmiesing) at third singles is a good example. He started playing tennis only two years ago, was JV all last year and now he ended up sixth on our ladder this year. I believe that’s how you build your program and keep your numbers up.”
On Tuesday against Stebbins, Troy won 5-0 for its fourth straight win.
At first singles, Kleptz defeated Joe Song 6-1, 6-0. At second singles, Goodall defeated Hawk Parker 6-0, 6-0. At third singles, Genki Masunaga defeated Matt Knospe 6-2, 6-0.
At first doubles, Sean Dippold and Noah George defeated Ezra Haponek and Ant Quach 6-2, 6-1. At second doubles, Henry Johnston and Spencer Short defeated Ray Zheng and Aiden Meckumey 6-0, 6-0.
Lehman, meanwhile, fell to Milton-Union (2-1) on Tuesday 4-1.
At first singles, Milton-Union’s Nathan Brumbaugh defeated Danny Lins 6-0, 6-0. At second singles, Nick Brumbaugh defeated Sam Gilardi 6-2, 6-0. At third singles, Peyton Brown defeated Max Schmiesing 6-0, 6-1. At first doubles, Jake Swafford and Nathan Black defeated Elias Bezy and Elijah Jock 6-3, 6-1.
The Cavaliers’ lone win came at second doubles, where Sean Toner and Cole Kramer defeated Luke Barnes and Will Morris in three sets, 6-1, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7).
Then on Wednesday, the Trojans won their third straight match in as many days since settling the battle for first and second singles.
At first singles, Kleptz defeated Lins 6-0, 6-0. At second singles, Goodall defeated Gilardi 6-1, 6-1. At third singles, Masunaga defeated Schmiesing 6-1, 6-1.
“Our singles players, I’m starting to see them move the ball around a lot and go for the easy shots, which is something they all three need to learn to do,” Goldner said.
At first doubles, Dippold and George defeated Bezy and Jock 6-2, 6-0. At second doubles, Johnston and Short defeated Toner and Kramer 6-1, 6-3.
“Doubles is always a work in progress unless you have guys playing together for two or three years,” Goldner said. “We’re getting better, and I’m seeing a lot of positive things.”
“I’m glad to get matches like this back for us,” Ungericht said. “It’s been some time since we played Troy. Coach Goldner is a good friend of mine, I went to him a lot my first couple seasons as coach, and he was always there with an ear and good advice. And that’s been a big help to me.”
After facing Trotwood Thursday, Troy will play in a four-team tournament at noon Saturday at Schroeder Tennis Center, taking on division rival Sidney as well as Bellbrook and Lima Shawnee. Lehman, meanwhile, hosts Piqua Thursday.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.