More often than not, it’s Truman’s top two singles players, Blake Savidge and Cooper Mangels, leading the Patriots to a win.
In Monday’s first-round match in the Class 2 District 14 tennis tournament, a pair of younger players got a chance to shine. No. 4 singles player Billy Wiser and No. 6 Mason Adrales got the two singles wins to clinch the team’s 5-0 win over Blue Springs at Santa Fe Trail Park.
Adrales got the fourth win the Patriots needed when he was able to top Jorge Martinez 6-2, 6-4, before Wiser clinched it with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Cameran Handy.
“In terms of experience, they are my least experienced, but they have progressed tremendously this year,” Truman coach Scott Lett of Wiser and Adrales. “You notice they both have set roles on their doubles teams and that works out well for us.
“Billy hates to lose and will do anything to win. He was out there gutting it out and he makes life tough for his opponent.”
In doubles, Wiser and teamed up with Chris Fielder for a 8-5 win and Adrales combined with Cooper Clements to triumph 8-3.
For Wiser, he said consistency was the key to his victory.
“The kid I played was consistent so I had to stay consistent throughout and I was able to do that,” he said. “I had a couple of clutch shots to keep momentum swinging my way.
“I feel like I was able to move him to his backhand when I noticed that was a weaker side. I was able to get my forehand to his backhand and come to the net and end it there.”
For Adrales, it was his play close to the net that helped him to a singles and doubles victory.
“I felt like I was in control for most of it,” Adrales said. “I just did things I worked on in practice and worked on my backhands.
“I like to come to the net a lot, so when I got a chance, I would come to the net and finish it off easily. Cooper and I started out slow in doubles but we were pretty much in control. We ended up making less mistakes.”
The other win for Truman came from its No. 1 doubles team. Savidge and Mangels topped Blake Summers and Jordan Warner 8-5 in a competitive match. Blue Springs coach Mary Humphreys said she felt her team was competitive in doubles but knew it would be a steep hill to climb once her team got down 3-0.
“We came out and played tough in doubles and played them a lot better than we did the last time,” Humphreys said. “We had a few questionable line calls that we struggled with. I don’t think we played bad. We came out and competed.
“It’s hard when you lose all three of those (doubles matches) because you know you have to win five out of six singles matches and you have to win them quickly because first one to five matches wins.”
When play ended, Savidge had won the first set 6-4 and was up 2-1 in the second over Summers in No. 1 singles; Mangels won the first set 6-0 and was ahead 4-3 over Warner in the second at No. 2; and Truman’s Fielder was in a battle with Blue Springs’ Luke David as they each took a set before Fielder was up 1-0 in the third.
Blue Springs’ Dakoda Allen nearly had a win as he won the first set 6-2 and was up 5-4 in the second on Brock Thomas.
Truman advanced to face top-seeded Blue Springs South in the semifinals at 4 p.m. today at Young Park in Blue Springs.
“I really feel like we have a good chance to win that one,” Wiser said. “If we execute in doubles, we can go into singles and close it out and pull off a big upset in most people’s eyes.”