FHC Varsity Tennis Blows Past West Ottawa in Near Sweep

FHC Varsity Tennis Blows Past West Ottawa in Near Sweep

Tyler George, Sports Reporter

FHC one and two doubles had to fight their way to victory in a pair of three set matches today at FHC. The one doubles flights consisted of senior captains Justin James and Reed Aleck.  The two seniors dug themselves a hole after losing the first set  2-6. Justin and Reed bounced back in the next two sets winning 6-3 and 6-2 en route to a 7-1 team victory over the Panthers of West Ottawa.

Justin is seeing a common theme leading to long, hard fought matches for him and Reed.

“We often lose the first set, and then come back to win the next two” said Justin, who looks to win a doubles state championship for back to back years. “We need to be more prepared before the match starts.”

One court over, the two doubles flight of juniors Aidan Rynbrandt and Jack Ziegler were in an emotional three set match of their own. Aidan and Jack also fell in the first set, but came back strong in the next two. The final score was 6-7, 7-5, and 6-1 against a tough pair West Ottawa players.

Aidan knows there is still room for improvement for the pair, who both won a state championship at their respective flights last season.

“We need to be more consistent, have better tactics, and our net play needs to improve” said Aidan, who is in his second year on the Varsity team. “We need to become better at adapting to what our opponents are doing.”

While the one and two doubles flights were battling, there was less trouble for the one and two singles flights in their wins.

One singles junior Connor Genschaw won in dominant fashion 6-0, 6-0. Connor has been one singles for FHC since his freshmen year, and has a positive outlook looking forward.

“Everyone’s gunning for us, so we need to show up to get that third state championship,” Connor said. “Who doesn’t want a 3-peat?”

As for his individual play, Connor is looking for his first state championship at one singles.

“I haven’t shown my best yet,” Connor said. “States is where I perform my best, and I think I’ll perform very well there.”

FHC found more success with two singles junior Jacob Wiltjer, who got off to a hot start and won 6-1, 7-5. Jacob has made the transition from four singles to two singles following the graduation of senior Cooper James.

“I’ve played a lot of tougher kids this year, but it’s tougher competition so it’s more fun,” said Jacob, who won the state championship at four singles the past two years. “I can’t just roll through kids like I did the past two years.”

Other singles flights for the Rangers included Jacob Herbruck (three singles), who won easily, and Nick Sjolin (four singles), who lost a close one.

Head Coach Dan Bolhouse was pleased with the play of his team.

“Our team pulled out some tough matches against a strong Division 1 opponent,” Bolhouse said.  “We had several flights fall behind early but we kept fighting and were able to come out on top. Due to the weather we only were able to play against West Ottawa but next season we are excited to play against two more teams.”