Despite winning more individual matches than they’ve lost this year, the Magic tennis team still finds itself staring at a 2-3 record next to its name early in the season.
How is that possible? Well, one easy win, combined with three 4-3 losses.
“We’re playing well,” said Magic coach Jeff Bordwell. “We’re just not finding ways to win those tight matches.”
The first matches of the season came in a home triangular against Rocori and Rosemount.
Monticello cruised past Rocori, winning six of the seven matches. All four singles players, Alex Revenig, Grace Sawatzke, Brooke Volpone and Taylor Arthur won their matches, while the Magic also got wins at No. 1 doubles (Anne Dockendorf and Kendra Stoick) and No. 3 doubles (Sydney Antony and Maria Becker). Monticello’s only loss, at two doubles, came in three sets. All the wins were straight set sweeps.
Later that day, the Magic faced off with Rosemount. This time, Monticello could manage just one win at singles, falling 4-3.
Volpone picked up the lone singles win, while Revenig, Sawatzke and Arthur all forced a third set tiebreak before falling.
Volpone’s win, like the Magic wins at No. 2 doubles (Myranda Anderson and Christine Lui) and No. 3 doubles, came in straight sets.
Monticello’s other loss, at No. 1 doubles, also required a third set tiebreak.
Saturday the Magic headed up to Alexandria, looking to learn from their close loss. Instead, they found more frustration.
Monticello won one match, beating Annandale 4-3 behind wins from Revenig, Arthur and No. 2 and 3 doubles. But they dropped the other two, each by a score of 4-3.
In each loss, at least one match could have easily gone either way.
In the loss to Foley, Monticello got wins from No. 3 doubles, as well as Volpone and a narrow three-set win from Sawatzke.
But they also dropped a tight three-set match at No. 1 singles when Revenig fell 10-7 in the tiebreaker.
Against Alex, Monticello got another win from the No. 3 doubles team of Antony and Becker, pushing them to 5-0 on the year. Revenig and Sawatzke added two close wins at the top two singles spots.
But Monticello again dropped two close matches for losses. Playing at No. 3 singles Stoick forced a third set tiebreak, but fell 10-6. And at No. 2 doubles, Anderson and Lui pushed to a third set, only to fall 10-7 in the final stanza.
All told, it’s added up to 19 match wins for the Magic, 16 match losses, 2 game wins, three game losses, and just a little bit of frustration.
“I think all three of the losses we’d like to have back,” said Bordwell. “There is no question about that.”
Unfortunately, that won’t happen. So instead the Magic are working on minor tweaks and adjustments to help turn those close losses into wins.
They’ve already experimented with moving Volpone from No. 3 singles to No. 1 doubles and with a whole week to practice this week, Bordwell figures to try a few more adjustments to see what works and what doesn’t.
“It’s really nice to be able to move people around,” he said. “We want to try things early.”
That said, don’t expect anything too drastic from the Magic. They know they’re close, and they know they have the right pieces to the puzzle. It’s just a matter of fitting them in nicely.
“I think we have the right 10 kids,” said Bordwell. “But we want to figure out the best combination of those 10 kids. We’re going to play around with the lineup a little bit so we can win those 4-3 matches.”
Tennis is back in action Tuesday with a 4:15 p.m. match at Rogers.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at firstname.lastname@example.org