Rockford boys varsity tennis team starts 2012 season strong

Ryan Korlewitz winds up to let go of a big serve.

The Rockford High School (RHS) boys 2012 tennis season is in full swing with a slate of exciting matches having already taken place. The Rams have started a very busy August with two invitationals and three dual matches to date. The season started on August 15 with a three-way meet with RHS versus Okemos and Williamston high schools.

In their first match of the season, the Rams varsity team was victorious over Williamston by a team score of 7-1 (won seven individual matches versus lost one match). The singles play was strong against the Eagles with impressive match wins by Mark Vietengruber (6-0, 6-0), Ryan Korlewitz (6-1, 6-1), and Luke Van Fleet (6-0, 6-0). Coming in with points on doubles wins were Cade VanRooyen and Thomas Hall (6-4, 2-6, 10-5), Sam Dater and Gregg Witt (6-1, 6-2), (3-6, 6-4, 6-2), Zak Riebschleger and Ken Smith (6-2, 6-0), and John Macgregor and John D’Amore (6-0, 6-0). Overall, it was a great team win.

Thomas Hall and Cade VanRooyen work together on another big doubles point.

In the second match of the day, the Rams netters faced a tough Division II tennis powerhouse in Okemas. The singles play was strong against the Chiefs with impressive match wins by Mark Vietengruber (3-6, 6-4, 10-5), Ryan Korlewitz (6-1, 7-5), and Luke Van Fleet (6-1, 6-2). The doubles teams faced a stiff challenge and came home with a match win by John Macgregor and John D’Amore (2-6, 7-5, 10-2) to help the team to secure a team tie in this match at 4-4. Overall, it was a great display of team play on the courts at Okemos.

The Rams then went into the weekend with the always tough Elliott Pearce Invitational (EPI) hosted by Forest Hills Central. The EPI is known to have one of the toughest draws in the state with six of the eight teams in the field finishing 2011 in the top 10 in their respective divisions. While the competition was stiff, the Rams finished well with singles match wins by Tyler Kowalk, Ryan Korlewitz, Luke Van Fleet and Mark Vietengruber (#1, #2, #3 and #4 singles). The Rams also took away three doubles match wins as well to finish with a respectable seven points. All in all, it was a good day for a “Tom Izzo like,” competitively tough, early season tourney on the schedule.

The Rams kicked of the week of August 20 with dual matches on three consecutive days against some very tough opponents in Zeeland East, Northview and Kalamazoo Central.

In the match at Zeeland East, the Rams varsity team took down the Chix by a team score of 5-3. The singles play was strong against the Eagles, with impressive match wins by #3 Luke Van Fleet (6-7, 6-1, 7-6) and #4 Mark Vietengruber (6-2, 6-3). Coming in with key points on doubles wins were #1 Cade VanRooyen and Thomas Hall (6-2, 6-2), #3 Zak Riebschleger and Ken Smith (6-1, 6-2), and John Macgregor and John D’Amore (7-5, 6-0).

The following day, the Rams were victorious over the Wildcats of Northview by a team score of six matches to two. The singles play was once again strong with impressive match wins by #2 Ryan Korlewitz (6-4, 6-2) and #3 Luke Van Fleet (6-2, 6-0). Using the classic “broom” technique, the doubles teams “swept” and took all four matches at this dual meet. Bringing home wins were #1 Cade VanRooyen and Thomas Hall (6-1, 6-4), #2 Sam Dater and Gregg Witt (7-6, 6-0), #3 Zak Riebschleger and Ken Smith (5-7, 6-0, 6-3), and the all important # 4 team of John Macgregor and John D’Amore (6-2, 5-7, 6-1).

The Rams varsity squad then grinded it out on Thursday at their home turf. In their third match in as many days, the Rams went up against a very competitive Kalamazoo Central team. Again, the overall match play was intense as the Rams dug deep, stayed very focused and came away with an impressive 6-2 team win. At singles play, #2 Ryan Korlewitz (7-5, 6-1), #3 Luke Van Fleet (6-4, 2-6, 6-3) and #4 Mark Vietengruber (6-1, 6-0) all legged it out for the third day in a row and took down their opponents. Pulling down key team points in doubles were #2 Sam Dater and Gregg Witt (6-0, 6-1), #3 Zak Riebschleger and Ken Smith (6-0, 6-1), and #4 John Macgregor and John D’Amore (6-2, 6-0).

In his assessment thus far, head coach Tom Huizing said, “I am extremely proud of the dedication to improvement by all of our players in the program during the off season and summer months.”

As of August 25, the win against Kalamazoo Central moved the Rams varsity squad to 4-0-1 (excluding the invitational) in pre OK Red conference play.

The next home matches are on Friday, Sept. 14 against Caledonia and Wednesday, Sept. 19 against East Grand Rapids, starting at 4:00 p.m. Come on out to see some competitive tennis play and root for the home team.

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