COLUMBIA — Most of the crowd was mesmerized by senior Ford Zitsch dominating in the No. 1 singles match on Tuesday against Jefferson City.
When Zitsch's opponent smashed an overhead for his first forced point about halfway through the match, the crowd laughed and applauded — both Zitsch and his opponent exchanged smirks. Rock Bridge coach Ben Loeb, like everyone else at Bethel Park, knew Zitsch was going to win.
And he didn’t pay it much attention.
“It is something we expected,” Loeb said about Zitsch’s victory, in which he didn’t lose a single game. “Against some opponents, it’s just not going to be close.”
So instead, the coach bounced from court to court, giving advice and cheering on different players.
"Compete in the here and now, Billy. Let's go!"
Even though Rock Bridge won 9-0 in their first completed match of the season, Loeb is concerned with the depth and experience of this year’s team compared with teams of the past.
After all, the Bruins' No. 5 and No. 6 singles players were losing to Rockhurst on March 22 when the match was cut short because of rain.
“We are strong and deep but relative to what we’re going to need to be at the end, we still have a little ways to go because we’ve lost so many guys to graduation over the last couple years,” Loeb said.
The Bruins are 1-0 for now, but the new No. 2 singles player Jack Fay expects the winning to continue.
“I’d expect the results to continue in a good way like that,” Fay said. “You never know, but I definitely think we’re the favorites in those matches.”
The Bruins will play against Hickman (2-0) at 4 p.m. on Thursday at Cosmo-Bethel Park in Columbia.