By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — After coasting to an easy win the previous day, not dropping a game at any court, the Troy tennis team got a true test Wednesday.
The Trojans, winners of eight straight coming in, hosted undefeated Tecumseh Wednesday in non-league play, and while each court was close in one way or another, Troy posted its ninth straight victory with a 4-1 win.
“This was a match we needed,” Troy coach Mark Goldner said. “Tecumseh has a real nice team and had good players, and they all kept the ball in play, and we’ve got to learn to beat that type of player. When we see Tippecanoe, Greenville, Sidney, they have players that keep the ball in play.
Against West Carrollton Tuesday, the Trojans (9-1, 4-0 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) didn’t drop a single game in a 5-0 GWOC American League crossover victory.
At first singles, Nathan Kleptz won 6-0, 6-0. At second singles, Jackson Goodall won 6-0, 6-0. At third singles, Henry Johnston and Spencer Short each played a set, winning 6-0, 6-0 as the Pirates had to forfeit second doubles. At first doubles, Sean Dippold and Noah George won 6-0, 6-0.
Tecumseh (7-1), though, provided a real challenge, bringing in five seniors — four of them at doubles.
“I was happy with everybody’s effort. But this team is still young,” Goldner said. “We’ve only got two experienced players, and they’ve got to learn to make the easy shots. And that comes with experience. We’re hoping that as the season goes along, we’ll keep getting better at that.”
At first singles, junior Kleptz took on senior Drew Sarihan, winning the first set 6-0, dropping the second 4-6 and then closing the match out with a 6-0 third set.
“Nathan came roaring back in the third set,” Goldner said. “He played real aggressive, was hitting serves and really driving the ball. We tried to tell him that that’s what you need to do against this type of player, and he did it.”
At second singles, junior Goodall held off junior Jacob Lewis 6-3, 6-4.
“Jackson got up 5-2 in the second and, for the first time, kind of mentally let down a little,” Goldner said. “That was his first time, but he did what he had to do to win.”
At third singles, sophomore Genki Masunaga outlasted sophomore Parker Randenburg 6-3, 6-4.
“Genki’s match was close,” Goldner said. “They hit a lot of balls, but he hung in there and was just a little mentally tougher. I was real happy with all three singles players.”
At second doubles, freshmen Henry Johnston and Spencer Short had the most decisive match of the day, defeating seniors Zach Williamson and Trenton Camper 6-1, 6-1.
“Second doubles did well,” Goldner said. “They kept the ball in play. They’re learning and starting to understand some things, so I’m happy with that.”
At first doubles, junior Sean Dippold and sophomore Noah George lost the longest match of the day in straight sets to seniors Christian Hunt and Scot Sinkhorn, falling in a pair of tiebreakers 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6) in two hours plus.
“First doubles had its chances. It just comes down to making easy shots at key times,” Goldner said. “Hopefully we’ll get better at that. I’m not unhappy that we lost that match. But when we get easy balls, we’ve got to put them away. We could have won both of those sets. We had our chances, but we’re getting closer.”
Next up for the Trojans is another GWOC American League crossover matchup, traveling to Xenia Thursday.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.