Dominating the singles competition in their first match of the 2015 season, the OTHS boys tennis squad collected a 7-2 victory over the Alton Redbirds on Tuesday afternoon.
O’Fallon swept all six singles matches to build an insurmountable lead.
Veteran Neal Shekar set the tone for the Panthers with a straight set victory at No. 1 singles, 6-3 and 7-6. Freshman Dominic Macaluso made his high school debut a successful one by defeating Alton’s Jackson Scheiter in a three-set battle. Macaluso opened with a bang, winning his first set 6-2; however, a 4-6 loss in the second set forced a tie-breaker. A strong rally pulled out the win 10-8. Returning lettermen Riley Muren, Matt Lloyd and Jon Garry disposed of their Alton adversaries in straight sets, and Shree Patel, playing at No. 4 singles, made it a clean sweep for the Panthers with a three-game victory.
The doubles competition was a bit more problematic for O’Fallon, as the Panthers were able to salvage only one of the three matches. Lloyd and Garry produced that win, as they combined to defeat Piazza and Moan convincingly, 6-0 and 6-0. Neal Shekar and Patel, playing at No. 1 doubles, nearly added another win to the Panthers’ total, losing a 10-5 tie-breaker.
“Our players executed well for their first time out,” Panther coach Erin Thoman said. “We committed very few technical errors and, in most cases, were able to maintain a consistent level of play.”
This weekend, the Panther netters will gauge their relative strength against most of the top programs in the area when they travel to Edwardsville to compete in the Tiger Invitational.