First-time starter boosts Broncos

By Michael Smith
Special to The Examiner

Lee’s Summit North boys tennis coach Stu Reece said that his No. 6 player, Zack Stults, was really nervous for his first varsity match.

The Broncos took on William Chrisman in a dual Tuesday and Stults didn’t appear to be nervous as he won his singles and doubles matches to help North earn a 6-2 victory against the Bears at home.

“When Zack found out he’d be playing some varsity, he wasn’t too sure that’s what he wanted to do,” Reece said. “Hopefully, he got a taste of varsity and he likes it.”

Stults got the opportunity because the Broncos’ slated No. 2 player, Parker Windhausen, did not play.

He teamed up with No. 4 singles player Brayden Krause to earn a 8-2 victory against Chrisman’s Nino Florido and Connor Brende 8-2 in No. 3 doubles. He also topped Brende 10-5 in the No. 6 singles match.

“I just played like it was any normal match,” Stults said. “I didn’t think of it as a varsity match.”

Stults used an interesting approach Tuesday as he held a tennis ball in his left hand while playing and swung the racket with his right.

“I don’t know, I just like holding onto stuff,” Stults said. “It helps. I’ve always done that.”

The Broncos No. 1 singles player, Grant Idoux, wasn’t affected by the absence of his normal doubles partner as he teamed up with Gabriel Clifford-Munoz for the first time and the duo won No. 1 doubles 8-1.

“It was different from who I usually play with,” Idoux said. “We made it work. We found our own play style and we played well. Gabriel is more of a baseline type player and high energy. Parker is more net and isn’t as high energy.”

Idoux also dominated his singles match, topping Chrisman’s Jordan Twenter 10-1.

Idoux was supposed to be the No. 1 singles player last season until it was canceled due to the pandemic. Idoux stayed sharp despite the lengthy hiatus from high school boys tennis.

“In the offseason, I played in tournaments like any other offseason,” Idoux said. “It was just a little bit longer because of COVID. In those tournaments, I am playing against guys who have a high (universal tennis rating). I was playing against higher level players than I am now.”

Krause was the other Bronco to win twice as he topped Florido 10-4 in No. 4 singles.

“He’s a great kid who has really figured out his game,” Reece said. “He was very consistent today. Nino is a good player and plays a lot during the summer. Brayden was consistent and kept his errors down.”

North’s other wins came from Matthew Gerber at No. 3 singles, who defeated Cameron Dickerson 10-3; and Emery Kirchhoff, who beat Hunter Butt 10-5 in No, 5 singles.

Chrisman got its only doubles win from No. 2 player Josh Huff, who defeated Clifford-Munoz 10-7 after facing a 2-0 deficit early on.

“My opponent played really well, especially in this wind. It was pushing the ball back quite a bit,” Huff said. “I figured out how to get a lot height on the ball, which pushed him back to the baseline. That’s how I got my win.”

The Bears’ other win came from their No. 2 doubles team of Dickerson and Butt, who topped Gerber and Kirchhoff 8-5. Chrisman was short-handed because it was missing its No. 3 David Keltner and No. 4 Xavier Jackson.

“The guys are improving, and there are a lot of guys moving up from JV,” Chrisman coach Jason Grubb said. “We have some guys who don’t have a ton of experience and don’t go to the club or play year-round. We just have court rats that work really hard.

“Sometimes our guys get into their own head and hit the ball too hard or out of bounds. We’re kind of bull headed and blue collar right now.”