Lions roar by Cardinals in tennis dual

BASELINE BLAST — Fairmont second singles player Ameya Komaragiri connects on a forehand return from the baseline during nonconference tennis action against Schaeffer Academy on Monday at the Cardinal Courts in Fairmont. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Schaeffer Academy senior Dane Bothun acutely defined the term ‘student-athlete’ prior to the Lions’ regular-season dual tennis meet against Fairmont on Monday at the Cardinal Courts.

Bothun outdueled Tyrell Zieske in a hard-hitting slugfest at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-2, to cap the Lions’ 6-1 team triumph over the Cardinals.

By the time Dane Bothun arrived in Fairmont via his parents’ vehicle at 5:30 p.m. — an hour after the meet’s first official serve, his Schaeffer Academy teammates already had built a 3-0 lead on the ledger.

The Cardinals’ Blake Haugen later denied the Lions a chance at a shutout by assembling a textbook comeback to defeat Annie Orvis in a three-set clash at third singles, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, but the real story belonged to Dane Bothun off the court.

“I was taking an AP (Advanced Placement) test in physics and it lasted about three hours, with a couple of breaks thrown in,” said Dane Bothun. “I felt pretty good about how I did on it, so I just relaxed and took a nap on the drive here.”

Bothun and Zieske locked up in a clash of baseliners that produced numerous long rallies and stellar shots, with the Lions’ senior captain winning in two closer-than-the-score-indicated sets.

“We appreciate that Fairmont’s coaches (Eric Johnson and Laura Olsen) recognized the situation and allowed us to start the first singles match late,” said Lions head coach Kady Monson. “That’s true sportsmanship for the sake of academics.”

The Lions’ doubles teams made the dual’s outcome academic by sweeping the bracket in straight sets. Brady Zimmerman and Faith Monson needed the first three games of the No. 1 doubles match’s opening set to warm up, reeling off four consecutive game wins to gain a 5-2 lead over the Cardinals’ Pete Ortega and Jeb Green.

Ortega and Green, however, displayed their mettle by battling back for a service break and a hold of their own to inch within 5-4, but Zimmerman and Monson prevailed in Game 10 to net the first set.

Zimmerman’s precision lobs and Monson’s stinging groundstrokes paced the Lions’ ensuing 6-2 second-set win over Ortega and Green.

Schaeffer Academy’s Adam Rector and Aidan Kluth, along with Asher Monson and Grace Gora, locked up team points at the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the lineup, respectively.

Rector and Kluth fended off a second-set comeback by Evan Carlson and Aaron Hendricks, 7-5, on the heels of netting a 6-3 first-set decision. Asher Monson and Gora only trailed at 1-0 in the second set en route to posting a 6-2, 6-4 win over Jack Hagen and Ian Fortune at the No. 3 doubles position.

In singles action, Haugen lost a 6-2 opening-set decision to Purvis before changing to a more patient style of play to rally for set wins of 6-3 and 6-2 to earn a team point for the Cardinals.

“Blake probably played his best match of the season so far,” said Eric Johnson. “After the first set changeover, he focused on his footwork better and was more deliberate in his groundstrokes, and came up with a team point for us.”

Luke Bothun, Dane’s younger brother, and Pierre O’Driscoll netted singles points for the Lions from the Nos. 2 and 4 positions, respectively. Luke Bothun served a 6-2, 6-1 loss to Ameya Komaragiri, while O’Driscoll posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over Thomas Klanderud.

Fairmont (6-9) and Schaeffer Academy (12-4) await the results of the Section 1A seeding rankings to determine the time, location and opponent for their respective team quarterfinals Thursday.

Schaeffer Academy 6,

Fairmont 1

Singles: Dane Bothun (SA) def. Tyrell Zieske, 6-3, 6-2. Luke Bothun (SA) def. Ameya Komaragiri, 6-2, 6-1. Blake Haugen (F) def. Annie Orvis, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. Pierre O’Driscoll (SA) def. Thomas Klanderud, 6-4, 6-1.

Doubles: Brady Zimmerman-Faith Monson (SA) def. Pete Ortega-Jeb Green, 6-4, 6-2. Adam Rector-Aidan Kluth (SA) def. Evan Carlson-Aaron Hendricks, 6-3, 7-5. Asher Monson-Grace Gora (SA) def. Jack Hagen-Ian Fortune, 6-2, 6-4.

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