BY KATHERINE MURRAY WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON –The great tennis equalizer—the wind—was out in full force during the O’Fallon boys’ tennis quad Saturday, April 15. Framers and near-misses marred the play. All teams showed some struggles with the element, but O’Fallon’s boys tennis team managed to control their shots enough to take all three wins.
“Yeah, the wind was definitely a factor, especially facing into it,” number one singles player Niko Papachrisanthou stated.
“The wind helped with serves, pushing the ball faster,” Quincy Dollison, a junior on the O’Fallon one doubles court, added.
In their first match up, the Panthers took on Greenville High School and won 5-0. Doubles dominated early. Number one doubles team Dollison and Matthew Spradling, a senior, took their match 6-1, 6-0. Two doubles Chase Holland and Adam Spihlman, both seniors, dropped just one game in their win. Three doubles Zane Toner and Eric Upson, juniors, blasted through their opponents to a 6-0, 6-0 win.
Sophomore Papachrisanthou won his first set 6-2, dropped a hard-fought second set 5-7 and rallied back to win the ten point tiebreak. Two singles Drake Schreiber, also a sophomore, took his match 6-0, 6-4.
As the second round picked up, so did the wind.
“We had to really focus on taking our time,” Holland stated. “The key was to not rush our strokes or the point.”
His partner, Spihlman, agreed, though pointed out the advantage at the net. “The ball just hangs there, waiting for you to take the volley.”
The doubles domination continued into the second match up against Champagne Central. One and two doubles both went 6-2, 6-0.
There was a comical moment on the three doubles court when Upson managed to lose a shoe during a point. But even that couldn’t slow down the duo in their 6-0, 6-1 win.
Singles sailed through round two also, dropping just one game between the two of them.
Their toughest challenge was ahead, with Mascoutah High School in the final round. The team pulled out the victory 3-2, with doubles leading the way.
“Keeping a positive attitude pushes us more than anything,” senior Spralding said.
Spihlman mentioned the home court advantage being a potential factor. “When you know how the wind plays on the court, how the courts feel, it’s a benefit,” he said. “Though this wind was more than we usually see.”
“The team played well up and down the roster,” head coach Erin Thoman said proudly. “They all did great.”
O’Fallon grabbed the number one spot in the Quad, with Mascoutah coming in second. Champagne Central took third and Greenville placed fourth.
“We have some big matches coming up,” Coach Thoman said at the conclusion of the tournament. “It’s good to have this win going into those challenges.”
The team will head to Belleville East for a Varsity Invitational April 21 and 22. They face Belleville West at home on Monday, April 24.