Tiger boys’ tennis steamrolls another opponent

TIGER NO. 1 SINGLES player Jackson Murray tees up a forehand during his straight-set victory on April 20, when his team topped visiting Mount Mansfield, 7-0, in a match played at Middlebury Indoor Tennis.
Independent photo/John S. McCright

MIDDLEBURY — In an April 20 match held at Middlebury Indoor Tennis due to work being done to the town recreation park courts, the Middlebury Union High School boys’ tennis team rolled to its third decisive win in as many outings, 7-0 over visiting Mount Mansfield.

Through three victories over MMU, Rice and Colchester, the Tigers have dropped only one individual match, second doubles vs. Rice, and two sets, those closely contested in that doubles match.

At Middlebury Indoor Tennis last week, only two Cougars managed to take more than three games in a set vs. an MUHS player. No. 3 singles player Kellan Bartlett played the only really suspenseful match, a 7-5, 7-6 victory over Parker Vinson, whose patient, soft-hitting style and uncannily accurate lobs at times posed Bartlett problems.

But the Middlebury junior made big shots — a forehand winner that caught the back line in the second set to send the match to the tiebreaker, and a key service ace late in the first set — when it mattered.

Middlebury No. 3 singles player Kellan Bartlett returns yet another volley from MMU’s Parker Vinson on the way to a two set victory this past Thursday.
Independent photo/John S. McCright

And at No. 5 singles, MMU’s Milo Vinson took an early first-set lead vs Tiger Brian Newton, but Newton eventually won going away, 6-4, 6-1.

The closest other result was a 6-2, 6-3 victory by the No. 2 doubles team of Eliot Heminway and Eddie Fallis.

MUHS NO. 2 SINGLES player strokes a backhand during his convincing win on April 20 vs. Mount Mansfield. The Tigers prevailed, 7-0, in a match played at Middlebury Indoor Tennis.
Independent photo/John S. McCright

Coach Ken Schoen predicted good things for a group that returns almost everyone after reaching the Division I semifinals a year ago. And he has not been disappointed by the Tigers’ early results, sportsmanship or camaraderie.

“The season is going great,” Schoen said. “They are having the best time ever. It’s a really fun group of kids. They really like each other. They practice hard. They laugh, they have a good time. They’re having a blast.”

Schoen commented on all his players’ efforts on that Thursday, including No. 1 singles player Jackson Murray and No. 2 Lewis Suchomel, one of the two seniors in the lineup.

“Both those guys stayed so focused, and they just kept the rallies going and took advantage of the points when they needed to,” Schoen said.

Murray patiently outplayed burly Cougar No. 1 Sam Molson with a variety of backhand, forehand, lob and volley winners.

“He played an awesomely strong match against a pretty good player,” Schoen said.

Suchomel simply ripped overpowering winners when opportunities presented themselves, Schoen said.

MILO REES, WHO with partner Iver Anderson netted a two-set victory at No. 1 doubles on April 20, stretches to hit a volley. The Tigers blanked visiting Mount Mansfield to improve to 3-0.
Independent photo/John S. McCright

“He chose his times to do that,” he said.

At No. 3, Bartlett had to battle against Vinson’s unusual style, and after winning the final two games of the first set after Vinson rallied to knot it at 5-5, Bartlett had to come from behind in the second set to force the tiebreaker. Schoen said Bartlett would be working on his overhead and volleys, but showed admirable toughness in closing the match out.

“Kellan was able to do a really good job of coming back … after giving up a lot of points,” Schoen said. “In that second set he came back.”

At No. 4 Aidan Chance, the team’s other senior, simply outplayed his opponent in all facets, Schoen said.

“Aidan just played his beautiful, strong, clean game,” he said.

Schoen said Newton  made a few unforced errors early on, but upped his game by becoming “a little more focused,” including by serving better.

“He did bounce back. He figured out what he needed to do,” he said. “He got into his groove.”

TIGER NO. 2 SINGLES player follows through on a volley during his victory vs. Mount Mansfield on April 20. Matches, all won by MUHS, were played at Middlebury Indoor Tennis.
Independent photo/John S. McCright

At first doubles the speed and shot-making of Tigers Iver Anderson and Milo Rees resulted in a one-sided victory, even though they occasionally sprayed shots high and wide. Schoen said that tendency is part of their successful package, and is also something that is happening less and less.

“They’re just so athletic. They get to everything. They mess things up constantly, but they also have more winners than mess-ups. That’s why they win,” he said. “And they talk to each other really nicely. Their game is getting better and better.”

NO. 1 DOUBLES PLAYER Iver Anderson nails an overhead volley during his and partner Milo Rees’s convincing win during the Tiger boys’ tennis team’s 7-0 April 20 victory over visiting Mount Mansfield.
Independent photo/John S. McCright

Schoen added much the same can be said of the quick and relentless No. 2 tandem of Heminway and Fallis. The outcome of their match against the Cougars never appeared to be in doubt.

“Eddie and Elliot, they chase everything down,” Schoen said.

The individual scores were:

At No. 1 singles, Jackson Murray (MUHS) defeated Sam Molson, 6-2, 6-0.

At No. 2 singles, Lewis Suchomel (MUHS) defeated Issac Medina, 6-0, 6-0.

At No. 3 singles, Kellan Bartlett (MUHS) defeated Parker Vinson, 7-5, 7-6.

At No. 4 singles, Aidan Chance (MUHS) defeated Noah Bushey, 6-1, 6-1.

At No. 5 singles, Brian Newton (MUHS) defeated Milo Vinson, 6-4, 6-1.

At No. 1 doubles, Iver Anderson and Milo Rees (MUHS) defeated Alex Aridgides and Owen Lahift, 6-1, 6-0.

At No. 2 doubles, Eliot Heminway and Eddie Fallis (MUHS) defeated Ian Ritter and Miles Huyler, 6-2, 6-3.

TIGER NO. 2 DOUBLES player Eliot Heminway lines up a backhand during his and partner Eddie Fallis’s victory on April 20. The Tigers swept all their matches vs. Mount Mansfield at Middlebury Indoor Tennis.
Independent photo/John S. McCright

MUHS junior Eddie Fallis serves during the Tigers’ match against Mount Mansfield on April 20. Fallis and classmate Eliot Heminway bested their Cougar competitors in the No. 2 doubles match.
Independent photo/John S. McCright

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