LE MARS - The senior-laden Le Mars boys tennis team blanked the youthful Cherokee Braves 9-0 in Lakes Conference action here Monday in a match that was moved up to a 1 p.m. starting time to help thwart the impending rains that ultimately halted a JV portion of the encounter.
All of this was to little avail for the Braves, as the hometown Bulldogs, who benefit year-around by the close proximity to the indoor courts in Sioux City, dominated every match, with the exception of the #2 singles match between Cherokee junior Matt Enderlin and Bulldog senior Kent Hasselquist, who squeaked out a competitive 10-8 victory.
In other singles action for Cherokee, senior Alex Struck dropped a 10-2 decision to Le Mars senior Mike Ahlers at #1, freshman Brett Walker lost 10-0 to senior Erik Havey at #3, junior Gabe Conley fell 10-0 to senior Keegan Driggs at #4, senior Gus Laursen lost 10-0 to senior Kolin Brooks at #5, and freshman Nathan Fowler lost 10-2 to senior Aaron Ruden at #6.
In varsity doubles action, Struck and Enderlin lost 10-1 to Ahlers and Hasselquist at #1, Walker and Conley fell 10-2 to Havey and Driggs at #2, and Laursen and Fowler lost 10-0 to Brooks and Ruden at #3.
In JV singles, Cherokee featured just three freshmen against three Le Mars seniors. For the Young Braves, Alec Schultz lost 8-3 at #1, Alexx Maurer lost 8-0 at #2, and Carlos Aguilar lost 8-0 at #3.
In JV doubles, Schultz and Maurer lost 8-2 at #1 before rains halted the rest of the JV doubles slate.
"It wasn't pretty for us, but one must give Le Mars credit," said Cherokee veteran coach Dave Zelle. "They stepped up the intensity and really took it to us in the positions we were able to win in the first time we played them.
"Alex played really competitive points, but just couldn't quite pull off enough of the shots that he needed to win the games. Matthew started out well, then fell behind 7-4 before mounting a strong comeback to knot the score at 8-8."
The Braves play in the Lakes Conference Tournament in Le Mars Saturday, travel to Spirit Lake Park Monday, and host Storm Lake Tuesday.