Dunlap tennis starts conference play slow

Adam Larck
Sam Park returns the ball during practice. Park pushed Calen Crim to seven games on March 29 before losing, 7-5, 6-2.

Dunlap’s boys tennis team got a good feel for how the conference will be this season last week.

The team started off Mid-Illini action March 29 against Morton, a team that has four of its top six players from last year, along with two freshmen.

While Dunlap’s Sam Park and John Collins were able to keep their sets close, the singles team eventually got shut out, 6-0.

“Well, Morton’s a good team and they have a good, young team,” Dunlap’s head coach John Allison said. “They came out and gave us an eye-opener of what our season is going to be like. It’s good in that it gives us a good, tough match at the beginning so we can see what we need to work on. The guys came hard, but it wasn’t enough today.”

Park was able to push Calen Crim to a 7-5 loss in the first set, but Crim easily won the next set 6-2.

“Dunlap gave us a fight at No. 2,” Morton’s head coach Joal Stanfield said. “Park played a good match against our guy. Overall, the guys played pretty strong everywhere, but No. 2 was really a battle. Last year, it was a three-setter between those two. So this year, for our guy to go out and get it in straight sets felt pretty good.”

Meanwhile, Collins pushed Wes Crandall to 5-4 in both sets before losing, 6-4, 6-4.

In doubles, Morton swept all three doubles as well, taking the match, 9-0.

“We went up against some good doubles team,” Allison said. “We had a relatively close one at No. 3 doubles that possibly could have gone our way. It’s early in the season.”

Allison said that he did find some things to take away from the loss to work on before going up against more teams in the conference.

“We’ll be working on our volleys and moving in towards the net,” he said. “Footwork is something that we need to work on, along with our doubles strategy.”

The junior varsity team won, 5-4.

On Thursday, the team traveled to Washington, with better results. While the team still lost, 6-3, they did manage to take two singles matches, as well as one doubles match.

Collins continued the momentum from Tuesday, beating Kristian Swank 7-5, 6-2. Also getting a win at singles was Conner Garrison, who beat No. 4 singles player Kody Dexheimerin three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

Collins also got a win in doubles, teaming up with Evan Fasnacht to beat the team of Swank and Brian Flexer, 6-4, 6-4.

The junior varsity team picked up another win at Washington by beating the Panthers, 7-2.

The Eagles stay on the road the rest of this week, facing Bloomington Central Catholic today and Bloomington High School Thursday. Saturday, the team plays at the Richwoods Invite, before finally returning home Monday to face Peoria High School.