After cruising through its first match against CBC, the varsity racquetball team won its match against Kirkwood 6-0 and had several deep runs in the annual Winter Rollout Tournament.
Against Kirkwood, top seed Will Shorey (Sr.) beat Zach West in two games, each by a score of 15-9.
“I think the biggest thing was serving, like it was last week,” Shorey said. “I was hitting some good serves and he was giving me some cherries to hit back.”
At No. 2, senior Max Telken earned his first win of the season over Sam Neunriter 15-11, 10-15, 11-8. This is the second week in a row where Telken has played a match to three games; this time, he came out on top with a win.
Senior Danny Phillips coasted by Ryan Sanner with an easy win 15-8, 15-4 in his No. 4 singles match. The lefty has stayed undefeated and has not faced much competition in the first two weeks of the season, winning each of his matches by a fair margin.
The highest seeded junior on the team, Nick Heinlein at No. 5, defeated Chris Plants 15-4, 15-13.
“I hit a lot of wide angle passes,” said Heinlein. “The guy was probably 6-foot-6 and that helped with the overall strategy of the game and being able to beat him.”
In racquetball, a pass is not your typical kill shot. The kill shot is supposed to be hit hard and low to the ground so the ball is dead by the time the opponent tries to return it. A pass, however, is hit softer and is more about placing the ball where your opponent isn’t. Heinleien exploited his opponent because taller opponents are typically slower and struggle to defend against well-placed passes.
Senior Clark Martin, the No. 6 seed, defeated Timmy Markee, 15-12, 15-10. While his games were closer than the others, Martin still played solidly. He has the ability to ace anyone at any given point and has a natural feel for putting powerful shots down.
The doubles team of juniors Max Adelman and Luke Dannegger escaped with a close win over Tyler Kraichely and Nicholas Whittington as well. After falling down early, they adjusted the game plan and come out on top.
“We started serving to the weaker opponent,” said Adelman. “We just really bullied him the whole game and that’s how we got most of our points later in the match.”
After losing the first game 8-15, they adjusted midway through the second game and won 15-13. Adelman and Dannegger dominated in the tiebreaker, winning 11-3.
The only SLUH player to not win against Kirkwood was No.3 senior Jared Thornberry, whose match had to be rescheduled.
After SLUH beat Kirkwood, they turned around quickly and they participated in the annual Winter Rollout Tournament two days later. The tournament is divided up into six divisions, with the varsity team being spread between the 1st and 2nd divisions. Shorey, Telken, Thornberry, and Phillips were all placed into the 1st division while Heinlein, Martin, Dannegger and Adelman were placed into the 2nd division.
In the 1st division, a 32-man bracket, Phillips and Thornberry made it to the round of 16 before losing in tightly-contested matches. Phillips lost to CBC No.1 seed Jake Schmidt 11-9, 5-11, 3-11, while Thornberry lost to CBC No. 3 seed Spencer Keith 9-11, 11-5, 9-11.
Telken made it one round further, to the quarterfinals, before losing 2-11, 1–11 to Parkway West No. 1 seed and eventual champion Adam Lancia.
Shorey made it all the way to the finals against Lancia, losing in a back and forth match 10-11, 11-1, 2-11. Shorey played all day and was worn out by the end of the tournament.
“The tournaments are a lot of fun, they push you really hard, I just ran out of steam towards the end,” he said. “I love them but they are much, much harder than when you are playing fresh.”
The bottom half of varsity dominated the second half of the bracket with three of the four semifinalists being members of SLUH varsity in the 32-man bracket. Danneger made it to the round of 16 before losing in three games to No. 6 Sam Kallaos from Parkway West, 11-4, 6-11, 6-11.
Martin and Adelman faced each other in one of the semifinals matches in a back and forth match. Adelman won the first game 11-8, surprising Martin. However, Martin came back firing and dominated the second game, winning 11-2. And in the tiebreaker, neither one would give up, with Martin narrowly edging out Adelman by two points to advance to the finals against another SLUH opponent, Nick Heinlein.
Martin and Heinlein went back and forth in the first game. Martin eventually snuck out an 11-10 win. With Heinlein possibly down to his last game of the tournament, he came back in the second game and won another closely contested game, 11-9. In the tiebreaker, Heinlein showed no mercy to Martin, not allowing a single point. After playing close matches and tiebreakers, Heinlein was just as worn out as Shorey.
“I was super tired at the end,” said Heinlein. “I had to bring multiple pairs of socks and my legs were really sore that day”
In all, SLUH had a very successful Winter Rollout Tournament. With Will Shorey making it to the finals of a very challenging 1st division, and sending three players to the semifinals in the 2nd division, SLUH maintained their dominance early on in the season.
Shorey will get a shot at revenge against Lancia shortly, as SLUH’s next match is today against Parkway West.
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