East Ridge boys tennis: Raptors claw through Bears, PioneersThe youthful East Ridge boys tennis team came out ahead during a busy, up-and-down week, after playing five matches in five days, going 3-2 in the five matches.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, South Washington County Bulletin
The youthful East Ridge boys tennis team came out ahead during a busy, up-and-down week, after playing five matches in five days.
The Raptors (7-6) went 3-2 in the five matches, beating Suburban East Conference foe White Bear Lake and non-conference opponents Hill-Murray and River Falls, Wis., but falling to SEC foes Cretin-Derham Hall and Forest Lake.
This season, six of the 10 starting varsity players for the Raptors are in seventh, eighth or ninth grade, and East Ridge is 2-5 in SEC play.
East Ridge opened the week with a 5-2 win over White Bear Lake on Monday, May 2.
In the win, East Ridge eighth grader Vishaal Gupta won 6-2, 6-2 over Josh Seipel and his younger brother, seventh grader Nikhil Gupta earned a 6-4, 6-2 win over Jack Morrisette. In doubles play, Wilmar Tropezado and Greg Sharrow won 6-3, 6-2 over Olivier Toussaint and Anthony Zappa, Joaquin Valdes and Branden Hickey won 7-5, 6-3 over Matt Gode and Matt Lindemer and Colton Mog and Zekeria Nigatu earned a 6-1, 6-1 win over Trace Combs and Joe Hinrichs.
East Ridge followed up the win with a loss, however, falling 5-2 to Cretin-Derham Hall on Tuesday, May 3. Raptors’ victories came from Nikhil Gupta 6-1, 6-1 over Jake Ernst and Valdes and Branden Hickey’s 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 defeat of Harry Hartnell and Zach Sullivan.
The Raptors bounced back from the loss with a 6-1 win over Hill-Murray and Wednesday, May 4. The East Ridge singles players swept the Pioneers in the win. Mitch Taylor defeated Tyler Rice 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, Vishaal Gupta won 6-1, 6-4 at second singles, Warren Tropezado defeated Calvin Rueb 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 at third singles and Nikhil Gupta won 6-2, 6-4 at fourth singles. In doubles play, Hickey and Valdes defeated Tim Fett and Kevin Johnson 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 and Mog and Nigatu beat Dan Cashman and Brandon Thompson 6-1, 6-4.
The Raptors had their wings clipped, however, in 5-2 loss to Forest Lake on Thursday, May 5. In the match, East Ridge failed to win a singles match, but the Raptors’ No. 1 doubles team of Wilmar Tropezado and Greg Sharrow beat the Rangers’ Jake Albee and Cal Eichinger 6-0, 6-3 and the Raptors’ No. 3 duo of Mog and Nigatu took a 6-0, 6-2 win.
East Ridge finished the demanding stretch of tennis with a 6-1 win over River Falls, Wis. on Friday, May 6.
In the win, Vishaal Gupta won 6-2, 6-0, Warren Tropezado won 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) and Nikhil Gupta won 6-1, 6-0 in singles play and, in doubles, Wilmar Tropezado and Sharrow won 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, Hickey and Valdes won 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 and Mog and Nigatu won 6-0, 6-1.
East Ridge took on Hudson, Wis, on Monday, May 9, and SEC foe Mounds View on Tuesday, May 10, after the Bulletin went to press. Next, East Ridge will face off with Hastings in a conference match on Thursday, May 12.