Rock Bridge boys’ tennis player Jay Kinderknecht showed his resilience to battle back and win Monday against Quincy’s (Illinois) Isaac Fee at the No. 3 singles match, 5-7, 6-1, (10-5).
His victory helped the Bruins handle the Blue Devils 8-1.
For Kinderknecht, a junior, being down after the first set is something he hadn’t dealt with this year. As a matter of fact, his five-match winning streak in singles was in jeopardy.
Once he was down after the first set, Kinderknecht knew exactly what he needed to do in order to win.
“I think more than anything, I tried to take advantage of his weaknesses,” Kinderknecht said. “He liked the ball up high, so I tried to keep it down low. That proved to be successful in the second set.”
Bruins coach Ben Loeb realized that Kinderknecht didn’t play his best match of the season. Loeb said most players, if they’re not playing one of their better games, would get discouraged and down, but Kinderknecht didn’t do that.
“He found a way to win,” Loeb said. “He has a great amount of poise and competitive drive and I think that combination, on a day when he didn’t necessarily have his best, shows that he can find a way to win more so than a lot of people. So, I think that’s a great attribute to have and he showed it today.”
Bruins senior Stefan Nosic also continued a five-game singles winning streak by defeating Francisco Cortez 7-6, 6-1.
In the No. 1 doubles match, both Kinderknecht and Nosic repeated their victories against their singles opponents. They beat Fee and Cortez, 6-4, 6-2.
“I think Stefan and I play well together,” Kinderknecht said. “He’s kind of a big serve and puts the balls away well, and I think one of my strengths is consistency. So I think together, we’re a pretty good team.”
They’ve made a big improvement since last year because, then, Nosic played at the No. 4 singles position and Kinderknect at No. 6.
“I think they’re both off to a very good start this season and hopefully they’re gaining confidence from that,” Loeb said.
The Bruins’ next match is at 4 p.m. today when they host the Hannibal Pirates.