Fairmont tennis flattens Austin in opener

SMASHING SUCCESS — Fairmont third singles player Blake Haugen hammers a forehand return during season-opening tennis action against Austin on Monday in Fairmont. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Tennis balls were blown around in the wind while the Fairmont Cardinal boys tennis team blew out the Austin Packers on Monday in Fairmont.

Fairmont won the first six matches to come off the Cardinal Courts, all in two sets, on their way to a 6-1 win to open the season.

Third singles player Blake Haugen was the first Cardinal to finish his match. Haugen took a sweep in the first set, 6-0, then quickly worked through the second set 6-2, against Nico Forte.

Haugen took less than an hour to take the victory.

Next off the court was the second doubles combination of Pete Ortega and Jeb Green. Ortega and Green won 6-1, 6-3, over Austin’s Dom Apolo and Ku Reh.

Fairmont head coach Eric Johnson said Ortega and Green had to work hard to get past Apolo and Reh’s athleticism.

“I was really pleased with second doubles,” Johnson said. “The team they were playing from Austin, they didn’t have the greatest strokes in the world, but they were extremely athletic and they covered the court really well. Our guys had to hit good spots and stick with it. I was probably the most pleased with second doubles.”

The third Cardinal to claim victory was Aaron Hendricks at fourth singles, where he beat Austin’s Evan Anderson.

Hendricks fell behind 3-2 in each set, but took consecutive games to go up 4-3 in the first set before winning, 6-4, and won four consecutive matches to take the second set, 6-3.

Ameye Komaragiri gave the Cardinals their clinching win at second singles. Komaragiri went up 4-1 in both sets against Austin’s Mathew Boyer, going on to win the first set, 6-2, and the second, 6-1.

The Cardinals’ third doubles pairing of Stuart Smick and Jack Hagen took consecutive 6-3 wins over Nathan Meyer and Ryan Stencel to give the Cardinals their fifth team point of the day.

Tyrell Zieske gave the Cardinals their final team point at first singles when he finished off Joey Schammel, 7-5, 6-2, in a long, evenly-matched dual.

Johnson said the Cardinals have aspects of their games to work through as the season goes along, but he was happy with the team’s performance in its first meet.

“For the first match, it had its warts, but they did all right,” Johnson said. “Our singles played pretty strong. There were some dips where we started to lose our confidence, especially at fourth singles. Aaron really righted the ship so to speak and corrected the mistakes he was making and listened to coaching and did a nice job. Same with Tyrell and Blake. Blake has been really solid and played solid all the way through, same with Ameye.

“Doubleswise, we knew we had work to do, we were a little shaky. the third doubles did what they had to do.”

The Packers’ lone team point came at first doubles where the combo of Cam Krueger and Ryan Walters took matching, 6-4, victories in both sets over the Cardinals’ pair of Evan Carlson and Thomas Klanderud.

Fairmont assistant coach Laura Olson said it was good to see the players out and having fun.

“They had a great first match of the season,” Olson said. “It was fun to watch the first year (junior jarsity) players in action and it was evident that they were having fun and learning as the matches progressed.”

Fairmont (1-0) travels to Worthington today for another 4:30 p.m. conference dual meet.

Varsity Results

Fairmont 6, Austin 1

Singles: Tyrell Zieske (F) def. Joey Schammel, 7-5, 6-2. Ameye Komaragiri (F) def. Mathew Boyer, 6-2, 6-1. Blake Haugen (F) def. Nico Forte, 6-0, 6-2. Aaron Hendricks (F) def. Evan Anderson, 6-4, 6-3.

Doubles: Cam Krueger-Ryan Walters (A) def. Evan Carlson-Thomas Klanderud, 6-4, 6-4. Pete Ortega-Jeb Green (F) def. Dom Apolo-Ku Reh, 6-1, 6-3. Stuart Smick-Jack Hagen (F) def. Nathan Meyer-Ryan Stencel, 6-3, 6-3.