Le Mars boys tennis played Denison at Denison on Saturday morning (May 22) in a substate team dual. Varsity won 5-4, advancing the Le Mars varsity team to the state quarterfinals against Spencer in an afternoon dual the same day (May 22). Spencer beat Kuemper 5-2 to advance to the state quarterfinals. The Bulldogs lost to Spencer, 5-4. Varsity finished with a 12-2 record on the year, with both losses coming to Spencer.
Saturday was quite the day of tennis. Le Mars opened up playing Denison, who was rated number eight in the state in the coaches poll (Le Mars was 10).
Matt Ahlers played his best match of the season picking up a win at number two singles over an excellent Denison opponent.
Michael Meis also played his best match of the season against Denison at the varsity three position, coming back down a set and down 1-4 in the second set. He won 12 of the final 13 games. As a sophomore, this is his first season playing varsity tennis due to the canceled season last year.
Ryan Brown came out of the gate playing exceptional tennis, winning 6-2, 6-0.
Kutter Wright played the varsity six spot for the first time all year. He suffered a tough three-set loss. Kutter had a serious injury in the winter months playing hockey, and he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play at all this year. Despite the injury, the team voted him as one of our two captains, which says everything you need to know about his character. He has been an integral part of the team all year.
Kaden Wingert and Kade Calhoun picked up a massive win at number two doubles 6-4, 6-1. Kade Calhoun kept improving every week, all season long. Wingert responded in a great way after a tough singles loss.
Jaxon Baumgartner and Ryan Brown took care of business at three doubles winning 6-3, 6-1. This was the last match going against Denison, teams tied 4-4, so all eyes were on these two.
Le Mars wrapped up the meet against Denison around 1:10.
Next up, the state quarterfinals against Spencer (rated number 7 in the coaches poll) started.
Kaden Wingert picked up his 17th singles win of the year, winning 6-1, 6-0 at number one singles.
Ahlers and Meis both continued to play their best tennis of the year, picking up wins in singles. Both Ahlers and Meis lost to Spencer the first time around. Both finish the year at 11-3 in singles.
Jaxon Baumgartner and Ryan Brown both lost devastating, three-set matches. These two paired together to win number three doubles again, giving them a record of 16-3 on the year in doubles. Brown finishes the year 11-2 in singles while Jaxon finishes the year 10-3 in singles.
Ahlers and Meis fought to the end at number one doubles losing in a third-set tiebreak, 6-8. They both served well, got to the net, executed overheads, and communicated during points. They were down 5-6 in the third set and had to break Spencer serve to get to the tiebreak. They had a 6-3 lead in the tiebreak with three match points that would have won us the meet and sent us to the state semis. The ball just didn’t go our way at the end of that match . Credit to the Spencer one doubles pairing, winning the last five points of the match to win. They displayed a level of toughness that is admirable. Ahlers and Meis finish the year at 16-4 in doubles.
Wingert and Calhoun also had a great opportunity at two doubles, up one set and up 4-1 in the second set. Spencer fought back to win in a third-set thriller in the last match of the day to give Spencer the team victory.
A thank you goes out to the seniors for their leadership throughout the season: Kaden Wingert, Jaxon Baumgartner, Ryan Brown, Kutter Wright, Samuel Bowen, Luke Benton, and Isaac Johnson.
The future remains bright for the tennis program as Le Mars will return three major varsity contributors in Ahlers, Meis, and Calhoun. The JV team was undefeated this year, with Jacob Harms, Tommy Majeres, Caden Wurth, and Evan Pratt as returners leading the way for next year to step into some new roles.