A week of tennis action did not start particularly well but ended on a much more positive not for the OTHS Panthers.
After an 8-1 walloping at the hands of the Edwardsville Tigers, the local netters recovered over the weekend with a third place finish in the 16-team Triad Tournament.
Facing Southwestern Conference favorite Edwardsville last Friday, coach Erin Thoman’s squad faced an uphill battle. The Tigers swept the singles competition, winning five of the six matches in straight sets. The only OTHS player to nearly pull out a victory was Neal Shekar, playing at No. 1. Shekar won the first set over Edwardsville’s Erik Weiler 6-4. Weiler recovered with a 6-2 win over Shekar in the second set to set up a third and deciding set. Shekar gained an early advantage but eventually succumbed to Weiler’s serve and volley game, dropping the rubber set 10-7.
O’Fallon’s only win over Edwardsville came in the No. 2 doubles match. Panthers Ryan Muren and Dominic Malacuso finally broke the Tigers’ string of victories with a hard fought 3-set victory. After being drubbed 6-1 in the first set, Muren and Macaluso came back strong to edge Alex Gray and Kyle Carson 6-4. Pushed to the limit in the third set, the OTHS duo roared back from an early deficit to capture an 11-9 win in the third to claim the win.
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Wins came much easier Saturday when the Panthers traveled to Triad to compete in the Knights’ 16-team tourney. O’Fallon entered two teams in the competition—their varsity starters as an “A” team entry and the JV squad as the “B” team. The OTHS varsity netters finished the tourney with a 3-1 record, collecting wins over Triad “B,” Batavia and Dunlap. Their lone loss came at the hands of Jacobs High School, 4-1.
The Panther JV team completed the tournament with a 2-2 mark. The junior Panthers defeated Effingham and Triad “B” and lost matches to Belleville East and Carbondale.
This week the OTHS boys tennis team is scheduled to host Collinsville in SWC action and will return to Triad for the Triad Duals on Thursday.