Woodbury boys tennis: Royals rally against Hastings, struggle in tournamentThe first week of 2012 Woodbury tennis may have brought a mixed bag on the scoreboard, but Derek Otto said there was more to it than wins and losses.
By: Mike Longaecker, Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
The first week of 2012 Woodbury tennis may have brought a mixed bag on the scoreboard, but Derek Otto said there was more to it than wins and losses.
The young team – comprised of just three seniors and one junior – has shown growth and promise, the Woodbury boys tennis coach said.
“It’s amazing what a week has done,” Otto said. “I’m definitely encouraged about the potential that we have with the guys.”
The week saw a loss to Harding High, a win against Hastings and a seventh-place showing at an eight team home tournament.
Saturday’s Royal-Raptor Invitational posed a tall order for the youthful Royals. The tournament comprised some of the state’s top talent in Chaska, Red Wing, Bloomington Jefferson, Rosemount, Duluth East, St. Cloud Tech and East Ridge.
Jefferson took first at the tournament, followed by East Ridge. Rosemount finished third.
Woodbury proved strongest at No. 2 doubles, where the pairing of Dave Lundberg and Arie Scherson earned a first-place finish. The duo faced East Ridge in the championship match and won 6-2, 6-3.
After a first-round loss to eventual champion Jefferson, the No. 1 doubles pairing of Jordon Sevens and Joey Shubert went on to win their final two matches, good enough for a fifth-place finish. The No. 3 doubles team of Darsh Desai and Victor Ding finished third in its class – as did Woodbury’s No. 4 team, consisting of Dan Lundberg and Chris Grenfel.
Woodbury’s Ben Sajevic finished fourth in his first appearance at No. 1 singles, substituting for Matt Shubert, who was busy with ACT testing.
Against Hastings, Woodbury eeked out a win in its first Suburban East Conference action of the year.
The Royals topped Hastings 4-3, with big wins coming from sophomores Sajevic and Michael Chu in singles and the team’s top two doubles pairings.
Sajevic, playing at No. 2 singles, earned a three-set victory over the Raiders’ Cody Arndtson. After opening up a first-set lead, Sajevic stumbled in the second set, but came back in the third, winning 6-1.
“Ben had a hiccup in the second set, but controlled most of the match, including the all-important third set,” Otto said.
Chu had no trouble in his contest at No. 3 singles, topping Hastings’ Austin Houska in straight sets. He won 6-0, 6-0.
“Michael Chu dominated with consistency,” Otto said.
The match also saw a big win from Woodbury’s top doubles team of senior Stevens and sophomore Joey Shubert.
They dropped a close first set at 5-7, but battled back, winning the final two sets 6-0 and 6-4.
Woodbury’s No. 2 doubles team also earned a three-set win. The duo, comprised of sophomore David Lundberg and freshman Scherson, fell in a first-set tiebreaker, but ratcheted up their game from there, winning the final two sets 6-4, 6-3.
Otto said he was impressed with the play of both singles teams. The players showed strength offensively and set up shots well to consistently win points at the net.
“Both the top two doubles teams played outstanding matches,” he said. “There were many more points won than lost – always a sign of some high quality doubles being played.”
Woodbury’s top singles player, junior Matt Shubert, fell in straight sets to Hastings senior Ben Carlson.
Things didn’t go as well in an April 10 nonconference match against Harding High.
Matt Shubert and Chu stood tall, both recording three-set victories, though the team fell 5-2.
In his No. 1 singles match against senior Derek Lee, Matt Shubert opened with a 6-2 first-set win before dropping the second set 2-6. He recovered in the third, winning 6-4.
Chu topped senior Poem Vang 6-2, 6-7. 6-0 in No. 3 singles
Woodbury’s No. 1 doubles team of Joey Shubert and Stevens battled back from a first-set deficit to win the second, but couldn’t solve their all-senior opponents in the third set.
“(They) played a nice match … and also forced three long sets that in the end could also have gone either way,” Otto said.