Friday was the perfect day for the Rock Bridge tennis team.
The players left school early. The weather was perfect. The conditions were perfect. Most importantly, their play was perfect.
Rock Bridge hosted Cape Girardeau Central, Kickapoo and Parkway Central at Bethel Park. Each team played two other teams with no overall winner in the all-day event. The Bruins (7-0) earned shutouts against Cape Girardeau Central and Parkway Central at Bethel Park, beating them 9-0. Kickapoo defeated Cape Girardeau Central 5-4 in the morning.
It all started at 10:30 when play against Parkway Central began. Jon-Eric Meyer set the tone for the day with a 6-1, 6-4 win against Parkway Central's Charlie Zvibleman in No. 1 singles. Meyer controlled the match and frustrated his opponent with consistent play despite feeling ill.
"He wasn't feeling his best," Bruins coach Ben Loeb said. "He certainly gave a good effort throughout and I thought he played well."
Loeb said he was also pleased with the play of Matt Dresner at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. Twice Dresner faced tiebreakers to decide the winner of the match. He prevailed both times.
Against Parkway Central, Dresner defeated Alex Sapot 7-5, 3-6 (10-8). In the tiebreaker, Dresner took a 9-5 lead but allowed Sapot to come within one. Sapot had the serve with a chance to tie but double faulted and the match went to Dresner.
Dresner's other close victory came in the No. 1 doubles match against Cape Girardeau Central. Dresner and Justin Winner defeated Heath Orr and Will Ramsey 3-6, 6-3 (10-6). Dresner said he and Winner picked up momentum halfway through their second set and carried it through to the end.
Loeb characterized Dresner's play as admirable.
"I think that was big," Loeb said. "He needed that. It was not easy and he found a way to get it done."
Loeb also praised his lower singles players. The 4, 5 and 6 singles positions are a major part of Rock Bridge's success. Loeb singled out the play of Kyle Kinderknecht at No. 4.
Kinderknecht defeated Parkway Central's Barry Goldenberg 6-1, 6-3 and Cape Girardeau Central's Will Ramsey 6-0, 6-0.
Kinderknecht said he was pleased with the way his day went.
"I think one of the main things I'm trying to work on is just being aggressive and I think that I was aggressive today," Kinderknecht said.
Kinderknecht said he enjoys being on a team that is successful. He also said the tennis team is expected to do well and it is a nice challenge for him to try to meet those expectations.
Loeb said Kinderknecht might be a first year starter but plays as if he is a veteran.
"He just loves to compete," Loeb said. "I have a lot of confidence in him and I think he has a lot of confidence in himself because he enjoys it when he's in a close match."