O'Fallon: Sports

Panther tennis team scores big wins

O’Fallon tennis standout Ryan Muren gets ready to return a shot during Saturday’s quadrangular meet at O’Fallon.
O’Fallon tennis standout Ryan Muren gets ready to return a shot during Saturday’s quadrangular meet at O’Fallon. Roger Popwell

The O’Fallon Panther boys tennis team completed their most successful week of the spring season to date with two tournament titles and a Southwestern Conference win over Collinsville.

The victory over the Kahoks came first, foreshadowing positive things to come.

The Panthers dominated both singles and doubles play in blanking the Kahoks 9-0. In singles action, the six OTHS players did not lose a game in any of the sets. In doubles, the Panthers were nearly as dominating, winning all three matches. Nikhil Shekar and Shree Patel breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 win. Riley Muren and Dominic Macaluso followed suit with a straight set whitewash. Matt Lloyd and Jon Garry made it a perfect afternoon for the Panthers although they did have to expend a bit more energy than their teammates, winning 6-2 and 6-1.

Following their SWC cakewalk, the OTHS squad traveled to Triad to compete in the Triad Duals. Coach Erin Thoman’s squad continued their solid play, rolling to wins over Triad, Althoff and Centralia. The Panthers lost only one set in collecting the tourney title. The lone loss came in number No. 3 doubles against the host Knights.

“Our players took control of their matches early with excellent serve and volley play,” Thoman said. “Our confidence and execution has improved week by week, and we are now playing much more consistently and reducing errors and mishits that caused some problems against teams like Edwardsville. Continued improvement is something that we need to focus on in the next few weeks. If our players do that, we should be able to compete against anyone we face.”

Another positive outcome of the Triad Duals victory was Thoman could juggle her lineup, giving several additional Panther players valuable varsity experience. The decision paid dividends as O’Fallon blasted both Althoff and Centralia 6-0 and 6-0.

On Saturday, the Panthers hosted their own quadrangular meet, and the results paralleled their road date at Triad earlier in the week. The O’Fallon team opened with a 5-0 shellacking of Greenville. The next two matches proved increasingly difficult, but at the end of the day the local netters had added three more team victories to their season’s total.

Champaign Central was O’Fallon’s second opponent, and the Panthers cruised to a 4-1 victory. Mascoutah provided the final obstacle to O’Fallon’s clean sweep, but the OTHS netters were equal to the task, edging the Indians, 3-2.

The tourney trail continues and will become a bit tougher this weekend when O’Fallon plays in the Belleville East Invitational.

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