Cubs maturing on the courts

Saturday, April 24, 2021
Ben Hoyt hits a shot during his 8-4 win over Nevada’s Chosen Reichard on Thursday. The Cubs are gearing up for their home tournament, Big 8 Tournament and district pairings. Kyle Troutman/editor@monett-times.com

Cubs make strides as season winds down

The Monett tennis team is benefitting this season from exceptional depth and competitive practices, putting the team in strong position for a shot at the Class 1, District 11 title.

Jason Smith, Monett tennis coach, said results have been on the right track, and district seeding emails were circulating Friday, with the Cubs hoping for the No. 1 or No. 2 seed.

Monett’s district is four schools, including the Cubs, Aurora, Clever and Mt. Vernon. Monett won 9-0 over Aurora in an early-season dual, and the Cubs also topped Clever, 8-1, in dual action. Monett’s Mt. Vernon dual isn’t until May 4, but the Cubs did show well against some Mountaineers at the Mt. Vernon Tournament earlier this season.

“There are still some things we need to improve on, but we are jelling well as a team and realizing our strengths and weaknesses, then focusing on what we need to do,“ Smith said. “The boys have done a good job recognizing that and working on those things on their own. That’s where we’ve really matured this season. We have a lot of players that are brand new to tennis, and our sophomores did not have a freshman season last year.

“They are all maturing fast, understanding match play and knowing what they need to work on and how they need to improve.”

Smith said after tying in the Mt. Vernon Tournament in No. 1 singles, plus getting first in some doubles groupings and second in some singles, the cubs and Mountaineers are fairly evenly matched.

“May 4 is our dual with them, and I’m excited for that one to see where we stand,” Smith said. “Then, we have the Big 8 Conference Tournament on May 5, hosted by Logan-Rogersville.”

Some changes have taken place in the Cubs’ roster due to challenge matches. Senior Dylan Lynch had been the No. 1 singles player, but Ethan Kutz recently overtook him in a challenge match.

“Dylan has seen a lot of success, and Angel Salas has also seen a lot of success,” Smith said. “Our 6-7 singles has been great, too, with junior Jackson Young and freshman Heisman Welch going back and forth. Both have been really consistent and improved a lot. Our final challenge matches will be next week, so we will soon know who will compete for us in districts.”

Smith said that competitive depth is a huge advantage for Monett, and something other schools have noticed.

“On Thursday, the Nevada coach mentioned how we have a lot of numbers this year, and that is nice,” Smith said. “Our depth shows how strong we are. The No. 1-3 matches are always tough, and to have No. 4-6 guys as athletic as ours takes the pressure off the top guys to always win.”

The excess numbers also help in practice, Smith said.

“Those JV guys are always fighting to get up to varsity, so our practices are better because there is so much competition,” Smith said. “We also get along well off the court, which is nice and hasn’t always been the case. That camaraderie as a team makes it easier on everyone.”

Monett defeated Nevada on Thursday, 7-2, with all the team’s seniors picking up wins on senior night.

“The entire team played really well,” Smith said. “We recovered from our loss earlier in the week. If we can continue to play well, districts is going to be really competitive. I am especially proud of Jackson Young with his first tie-breaker win. “

Full results from Thursday include:

Singles

No. 1 Ethan Kutz loses 8-2 to Evan Rea

No. 2 Dylan Lynch wins 8-3 over Andrew Lanear

No. 3 Ben Hoyt wins 8-4 over Chosen Reichard

No. 4 Angel Salas wins 8-4 over Jamin Mosher

No. 5 Jackson Young wins 8-7 (7-1) over Raymond Streeter

No. 6 Heisman Welch wins 8-4 over Daylan Harth

Doubles

No.1 Kutz/Salas lose 8-4 to Rea/Lanear

No. 2 Lynch/Hoyt win 8-2 over Reichard/Mosher

No. 3 Young/Heisman win 8-4 over Streeter/Harth

Monett is back in action on Tuesday at New Covenant Academy. On Wednesday, the Cubs host their home Tournament at North Park and South Park. Coming for the tournament are: New Covenant, Aurora, Webb City, Clever, Mt. Vernon, Thomas Jefferson and Carthage.

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