Tennis Braves drop 2 road matches

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Cherokee tennis Braves, defending Lakes Conference champions for the first time in school history, found the going tough in their first two difficult season-opening road matches, falling 7-2 to a talented Denison-Schleswig team last Friday, and then losing by the same 7-2 score at Le Mars Monday night.

Cole Renken returns a shot. Photo contributed.

Losing their top two players to graduation, the Braves knew they had a long row to hoe to repeat their Lakes title and also their Team Substate berths accomplished the past two seasons.

At Denison last week, Cherokee rode #1 Cole Renken's singles victory and Renken's and Nick Parker's #1 doubles victory for the only ream points.

In singles, Renken beat Nick Ingram 10-7 at #1, Parker lost to Jacob Heiden 10-5 at #2, Alex Struck lost 10-7 ro Ryan Petersen at #3, Jordan Ogren fell 10-2 to Andrew Hrabik at #4, John Bieber lost 10-3 to Joel Aurand at #5, and Zac Woods lost 10-2 to Philip Keairnes at #6.

In varsity doubles, Renken and Parker beat Ingram and Heiden 10-6 at #1, Struck and Ogren fell 10-4 to Petersen and Keairnes at #2, and Bieber and Woods lost 10-4 to Hrabik and Aurand at #3.

Denison-Schleswig features a waffle court comprised of two different surfaces both smooth and gritty in each square, as opposed to a total hard-surface court, a distinct advantage for the home team used to playing on such a surface.

Cole Renken of Cherokee readies to fire a serve while his teammate Nick Parker stays positioned at the net during doubles tennis action in Le Mars Monday night. Photo contributed

D-S also prevailed 4-0 in JV competition against the short-handed Braves. For Cherokee, Weston Burkhardt lost 8-3 at #1, Conner Ogren lost 8-3 at #2, and Gus Laursen lost 8-1 at #3. In doubles, Burkhardt and Ogren lost 8-0 at #1, and Burkhardt and Laursen lost 8-3 at #2.

"Denison-Schleswig lost their #3 and #6 to graduation, while we lost our #1 and #2," said Cherokee coach Dave Zelle. "They also had played two matches and this was our first outing. Beyond that, the meet was a wake-up call of how hard we still need to work this season."

At Le Mars, Struck was the lone varsity singles winner, and Renken and Parker again prevailed at #1 doubles.

Struck hammered his opponent Josh Meridith 10-1 at #3, and Renken and Parker smashed Brian Kehn and Meridith 10-1 at #1 doubles.

In other varsity singles action for the Braves, Renken lost 10-5 at #1 to Mike Ahlers, Parker lost 10-8 to Kehn at #2, Ogren lost 10-7 to Kent Hasselquist at #4, Bieber lost 10-4 to Keegan Droggs at #5, and Matt Enderling lost 10-4 to Curt Durr at #6.

In varsity doubles, Renken and Parker beat Kehn and Meridith 10-1 at #1, Struck and Ogren lost 10-2 to Ahlers and Hasselquist at #2, and Bieber and Enerlin fell 10-6 to Driggs and Eric Harvey at #3.

Cherokee lost the JV match 7-0. In singles, Woods lost 8-2 at #1, Burkhardt lost 8-2 at #2, David Enderlin lost 8-6 at #3, Conner Ogren lost 8-4 at #4, and Laursen lost 8-3 at #5. IN JV doubles, Woods and Burkhardt lost 8-2 at #1, and Enderlin and Ogren fell 8-5 at #2.

"We plain got beat by a team that was a much stronger serving team than we are and was tougher mentally," said Zelle. "Struck played a superb match, crushing an opponent who had beaten him last year, and Renken and Parker looked very sharp at #1 doubles again. "We have a lot of work to do."

The Braves travel to Spencer tonight for a weather make-up originally scheduled in Cherokee April 6. The dates have been switched and Spencer now comes to Cherokee April 26.

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