Rock Bridge did much more than shut out Hannibal on Tuesday. It controlled every aspect of the match.
The Bruins didn’t lose a set in their 9-0 win against the Pirates at Bethel Park.
Strong winds seemed to make play difficult, but the Bruins (5-0) adjusted well. Hannibal struggled to keep balls in play and often the wind caught lightly hit balls and carried them out of bounds.
“The wind was tough today and I thought our guys handled it quite well,” Rock Bridge coach Ben Loeb said.
The wind didn’t seem to affect the play of Rock Bridge juniors Matt Dresner at No. 1 singles and Justin Winner at No. 2.
Dresner defeated Steven Link 6-1, 6-1. Dresner controlled the match and easily placed the ball wherever he wanted. Link wasn’t able to keep the ball in play. He often double faulted or hit the ball too hard to send it out of bounds.
Dresner said the competition allowed him to relax and work on his game.
“I got to try some things out and be a little more comfortable working on things in game situations that I might not get to in other match situations,” Dresner said.
Winner had an almost identical match, defeating Sam Bushmeyer 6-1, 6-1. Winner, like Dresner, controlled the match but said the wind wasn’t much of a problem.
“It’s always pretty windy up here so I’m pretty used to it,” Winner said.
Also like Dresner, Winner said he felt confident during his match and used the time to work on his game.
“I was trying some different stuff with my serve,” Winner said. “Obviously, I was pretty relaxed out there.
“It was a good match to try some different things out.”
Winner said it was nice to have a match he didn’t need to worry about and could have fun.
Loeb said he didn’t tell his players they should work on their game but he thought they knew the match might be a good opportunity.
Loeb said the easy competition allowed his team to excel.
“I think you tend to play better when you’re relaxed and it’s easier to relax when you anticipate the competition to not be as strong as it would be otherwise,” Loeb said.
Not every match was a blowout. Hannibal’s Caleb Johnston came close in his loss to Scott Hawf 6-2, 7-5 at No. 6 singles. In the second set, Johnston came back to bring the score to 6-5.
Jon-Eric Meyer, the regular No. 1 singles player for Rock Bridge, took a break to rest. Loeb stressed the strength of his lower players and used the opportunity to get them well-deserved court time.
“I think the guys who have been playing (Nos.) 7 and 8 are on most days just as good as the guy we’ve been having play 6,” Loeb said.