Edwardsville High School sophomore Zach Trimpe’s game plan worked to perfection in the No. 1 singles final at the Southwestern Conference Tennis Tournament.
In a rematch of two of top players in the state, Trimpe jumped out to a quick advantage over Belleville East sophomore Max Skaer and never looked back in a straight-set win. The victory led the Tigers to a 17th straight Southwestern Conference championship.
A loser in his previous two meetings with Skaer — including a 7-5, 6-4 setback just two weeks ago — Trimpe rolled past the Lancers sophomore at the Edwardsville Tennis Complex 6-0, 6-3 for the SWC singles championship.
“He (Skaer) beat me last winter and then when we played a couple of weeks ago. I was ready to play today,” Trimpe said. “The difference for me today was being more aggressive. I wanted to go for my shots and not let him (Skaer) stay at the baseline all day.
“I know this was my last singles match of the year because I’m playing doubles in the postseason. But this is a real boost for me going into the sectional (tournament) next week.”
Edwardsville, which swept the doubles competition Friday, won five of six singles flights Saturday to finish with 71 points. Belleville East was a distant second with 62 points, followed by O’Fallon (52 points), Belleville West with (46) and Alton, which rounded out the top five with 40 points.
Expected to be in the hunt for a top-five finish at the Class 2A state tournament in two weeks, the Tigers did not lose a set in the eight flights they won during the two-day conference competition.
“I’m very pleased with our team. Just because we had won 16 straight SWC championships didn’t mean we were going to win again today. This SWC has some very good players when you think of Belleville East, O’Fallon, Belleville West and Alton, and in each flight we won, we had to play very good tennis in order to do as well as we did,” Tigers coach David Lipe said.
“I’m very pleased with the way (Zach) Trimpe played. He went out against a very strong player with a game plan and executed that game plan to perfection.
Also playing well was Edwardsville junior Alex Gray, who defeated Belleville East junior Christian Cowulich 6-3, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles flight. Also winning singles flights for Edwardsville were Eric Weiler (No. 3), Seth Lipe (No. 4) and Ben Bequette (No. 6).
Belleville East junior Carter Baldus ended the Tigers’ hope of a perfect weekend when he defeated Tigers junior Logan Pursell 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 5 singles flight final.
The doubles team of Trimpe and Gray, one of the favorites to contend for the state title after placing fourth a year ago, won the No. 1 doubles flight Friday, defeating Drew Boyles and Derek Henke, of Belleville West, 6-2, 6-1.