For the Antigo Times
Antigo faced off against its perennial nemesis Rhinelander on their home court late last week and came up just short of toppling last season’s champions, losing the close contest 3-4. The meet could have swung either way, with three of the flights going the full three sets, and Antigo only claiming one of them.
“Overall I was very pleased with our performance,” head coach Dave Zalewski said. “The team was without the services of our No. 2 singles player, Andy Turunen, so I had to shuffle the entire lineup. Schedlbauer and Johnson moved up a flight to No. 1 doubles and almost pulled the upset, taking their Rhinelander opponents to three sets. Tyler Husnick switched to No. 2 singles and lost a heartbreaker. All three sets were by the identical score 6-4, with Husnick grabbing only one. Tommy Blink moved from singles to No. 2 doubles with sophomore Tyler Hickman and played much better than their scored indicated.”
Ben Bartletti was moved from No. 1 doubles to No. 3 singles and easily took care of his adversary from Rhinelander, overpowering him with massive forehands. At the No. 4 singles, Tanner Stueck did a super job fending off a hungry Hodag, winning in two very close sets, the first one going to a tiebreaker that he won 8-6.
The match of the day came at No. 1 singles. Drew Schwarz, moving from doubles to singles, faced off against last year’s conference player of the year, Logan Wild. Schwarz came into the meet feeling under the weather and dropped the first set 4-6. Falling. 0-2 in the second, Schwarz had to dig down deep to claw his way back to even the score at a set apiece.
With all matches completed and all spectators watching, Logan and Schwarz put on a thrilling display of high school tennis. Neither player wanted to give an inch. Every point was a battle of wills. Both players hit powerful ground strokes and aggressively aattacked the net. In the end, the hustle and heart of Schwarz proved to be the deciding factor, as he closed out the final set 6-4.
“I’ve never been more encouraged after losing. The whole team fought to the end, giving 100% effort. That is all a coach can ask for,” Zalewski added.
Antigo plays at Lakeland this evening and is home on Tuesday against Medford and Philips
RHINELANDER HIGH 4, ANTIGO HIGH 3
No. 1 — Drew Schwarz, ANTIGO HIGH, def. Logan Wild, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; No. 2 — Markus Johnson, RHINELANDER HIGH, def. Tyler Husnick, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6; No. 3 — Ben Bartletti, ANTIGO HIGH, def. Russell Benoy, 6-2, 6-3; No. 4 — Tanner Stueck, ANTIGO HIGH, def. Ian Conkey, 7-6, 6-4.
No. 1 — Grant Gilbert-Jared Fabich, RHINELANDER HIGH, def. Cole Johnson-Collin Schedlbauer, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6; No. 2 — Conner Young-Jared Haug, RHINELANDER HIGH, def. Tommy Blink-Tyler Hickman, 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 — Marshall Bessette-Logan Oestrich, RHINELANDER HIGH, def. Jake Waters-Brody Bunnell, 6-3, 6-1.