OTTUMWA —The Ottumwa boys tennis team picked up a huge 7-4 victory over CIML Metro Conference rival Indianola Friday at Dan Staggs Courts.
"This is probably our biggest test in the Metro this year so this is a big step toward winning the Metro," Ottumwa boys tennis coach Alan Paris said. "This was a big victory for us and the kids knew they wanted to really focus on this match, and, basically, they focused pretty well."
The Bulldogs went 4-2 in singles' competition and 3-2 in doubles play. In an uber-competitive match, Sam Kramer fought off a stiff challenge from Shane Pruett in No. 4 singles action. After Kramer cruised to a relatively easy 6-2 win in the first set, Pruett evened the match at one set apiece with a 7-5 triumph in the second set. The Indianola player appeared to have the momentum near the end of the third-set tiebreaker, as Kramer showed visible signs of frustration. During one sequence, Kramer looked like he was on his way to a sure point, as he had Pruett running all over the court flagging down his drives, but his forehand smash at the net was too deep. Moments later, Pruett scored with a nicely placed lob.
But, with the match tied at 7-7, Kramer dug down deep and came up with some offense. He scored the next point, and the next, and then Pruett sent the next volley into the net — tiebreaker, match, Kramer.
Seth White had one of his finest performances of the season, as he handily defeated Britton Vanderlinden 6-3, 6-0 in No. 5 singles action.
"I was hitting my backhand pretty well today," White said.
As to why everything came together for him on this day, White offered his own hypothesis.
"It's finally warm out, maybe that's it," White said.
With five victories in the bag, the No. 4 doubles team of Nick Sedore and Mitch Buller clinched a team victory for the Bulldogs with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over John Cassady and Trey Kuehl. To prevail in the first set, the pair had to overcome their opposition's lob-heavy strategy.