Rockford boys varsity tennis team sweeps Hudsonville and Caledonia

Mark Veitengruber winds up for a big serve.

The RHS Boys 2012 tennis team played some great matches last week with big wins over both Hudsonville and Caledonia High Schools. To start the week off, the Rams opened play on Wednesday with a match against the always tough Eagles on their home courts at Hudsonville High.

As play wore on throughout the afternoon, the Rams methodically took down six of the first seven matches.  The #2, #3, and #4 singles players wore down their opponents with consistent ground strokes and serves. Ryan Korlewitz (#2), Luke Van Fleet (#3) and

Mark Vietengruber (#4) all came through with singles wins to score three points for the team.

It was then the doubles teams turned to “bring the heat” and score points for the team. Sure enough, they “Rammed” their way through for victories.  The doubles teams of Cade VanRooyen and Thomas Hall (#1), Sam Dater and Gregg Witt (#2), Zak Riebschleger and Ken Smith (#3) and John Macgregor and John D’Amore (# 4) showed great focus and determination in notching the wins.

John Macgregor lets go of the serve while John D’Amore gets set at the net.

After these seven matches were completed, the lone player for the Rams still on the court was #1 singles player, Tyler Kowalk. Tyler was battling a sore knee and had fallen behind, experiencing a tough, frustrating, first set loss. Battling once again in set two, he overcame the frustration of defeat in set one, and took sets two and three to notch an impressive, come from behind win!  Can you say SWEEP? The Rams came home from this match taking all eight matches for the 8-0 win over the Eagles!

In the next match of the week, the Rams varsity team came back home to the courts at RHS to host the Fighting Scots of Caledonia. With only one day’s rest and practice squeezed in between match play, the Rams put the Scots in their crosshairs for their second match in three days. The Rams knew this would be no easy task. All of the players and coaches are familiar with the Scots tough, athletic play as a Regional foe from the past.

The Rams varsity team bore down against the purple and white to come out victorious over Caledonia by a very impressive score of 8-0!

Once again at singles, the #2, #3 and #4 guys quickly took down their opponents. Match wins were written into the books with victories by Ryan Korlewitz (6-2, 6-2), Luke Van Fleet (6-1, 6-0) and Mark Vietengruber (6-1, 6-2). At #1 singles, still battling the sore knee, Tyler Kowalk once again fell behind in his first set against a very tough #1 from the Fighting Scots. With some grit and serious focus, Tyler took game after game to forge ahead and seal the victory at 7-5, 6-4.

After the win was sealed, Tyler was asked about winning these individual contests while dealing with the sore knee and the frustration of falling behind for the second time in 2 straight matches.

“What it takes first is mental toughness. You have to be mentally strong and just not lose it, just keep playing your game,” commented Tyler. “It’s all about footwork, keeping the feet moving and covering the court”.

That goes the same for the doubles teams that all stayed mentally tough for some impressive come from behind wins as well.

The doubles teams scored by sweeping all four matches with three great, come from behind wins and one in straight sets! Notching victories for the team were #1 Cade VanRooyen and Thomas Hall (4-6, 6-3, 6-4), #2 Sam Dater and Gregg Witt (4-6, 6-4, 6-2), #3  Zak Riebschleger and Ken Smith (4-6, 6-4, 6-2) and #4 John Macgregor and John D’Amore (6-3, 6-3).

After the overall team win was sealed at 8-0, Varsity head coach Tom Huizing was asked if he could recall ever taking two  8-0 team victories during the same week.

Coach Huizing replied, “This has never happened before in my history here as coach. I do not recall that we have ever brought out the broom for the sweep, twice in one week”.

When asked about what there is about this team and their wins, the coach replied, “This team has a special make up that is more mentally tough than I have seen here in a while for our tennis teams. They just don’t like to lose, they just don’t like it. Maybe in the past, we have had a player or two that accepted losing a little easier. These guys, they just won’t have it that way”.

Wow, what a week for Rockford varsity tennis!

Overall great team play and wins for the Rams!

The next home matches at the Rockford High School tennis courts are on Friday Sept. 24 against Holland and Wednesday Sept. 26 against West Ottawa, starting at 4:00pm. Come on out to see some competitive tennis play and root for the home team! Stay tuned for more RHS boys varsity tennis news here as the season progresses.

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