COLUMBIA – Ben Levin expects to win.
The No. 2 player on the Hickman tennis team, Levin has got some attitude, and his coach Andy Materer knows it.
"He expects to win and he gets mad when he doesn't," Materer said.
Even with his competitive mindset, Levin couldn't pull off a win Thursday in the Kewpies' 9-0 loss to Rock Bridge at Bethel Park. Against Bruins junior Jimmy Hunter, Levin lost 6-2 and 6-3. Hunter said he recognized Levin's determination.
"I was really impressed with how he played," Hunter said. "There was a point where I was up 4-11, and he came right back after I made a mistake. He's a real fighter."
Levin also brings a winning attitude to his other sport, soccer. He was a part of the Kewpies' 2009 soccer team that went to the state final four and finished as the No. 7 team in the state. As a senior, he also sees his competitiveness spilling over to the rest of his team.
"We have real gamers at every position," Levin said. "Mentally, we're the strongest team I've been on. We haven't given away a match all season."
A positive attitude and determination to win is extremely beneficial in a sport like tennis, where things can go wrong quickly. If a player has a bad thought and hits one bad shot, momentum can shift and the match might be over. Levin understands that and wants his opponents to see he means business.
"I like to come out aggressive and tough," Levin said. "It always works better than being caught on your heels."
Levin sees opportunity for his upcoming matches on Saturday against Parkway South and Parkway Central in St. Louis. Parkway Central has one of the top teams in the state, but Levin thinks it will be competitive and that Parkway South will be a good match up for the Kewpies.
Rock Bridge improves to 3-0 with the victory, while the Kewpies fall 1-1. The teams will meet again on May 4 at Cosmopolitan Park.