Despite a tactic by Marysville to win points by moving one of its top players to No. 2 doubles, Abilene all but lapped the field, winning with 26 points. Marysville was five points back with 21, followed by Concordia with 11 and Chapman with two.
“I thought we might win it by two points at the very end,” Stredney said after the win. “The twos really helped us win this. Each of the twos got four points for us and the ones each got nine points. It was a total team effort. That’s what you need to win the league.”
The win was not as easy as it seemed.
When Marysville’s No. 1 singles player Tyler Taphorn upset James Tyler of Concordia, Stredney and company were prepared for a duel with the Bulldogs.
“Nobody was really helping us at all,” he said of the league tournament which had only four teams as Clay Center and Wamego were each with squads. “Then after we had it won, Con’s No. 1 doubles team beat Marysville. That really clinched it for us.”
Abilene’s No. 1 player Matthew Barlow did not lose a point to win his second straight league title. The No. 1 doubles team of Kaynan Anderson and Connor Kijowski lost just one point on their way to first place.
Barlow improved his record to 23-2 and Anderson and Kijowski improved to 20-5. Both are expected to be seeded in the Class 4A regional tournament at McPherson on Thursday.
Barlow’s only two losses this year have been to two-time Class 4A state champion Quinn Dippel, who is expected to be the No. 1 seed. Barlow placed eighth at state a year ago. Dippel is unbeaten this season. In fact, he lost his first set to Eric Martell of Sterling last Thursday but came back to win the second set 8-0 and the super tiebreaker 8-4.
“We’ll be fighting for the fourth of five seeds for those guys,” Stredney said of Anderson and Kijowski.
“It is a very solid regional,” Stredney said. “I’m hoping that our ones show up and play like they did today. It is going to be very, very tough for the twos because there are so many quality players in our regional.”
The Kansas Tennis Coaches Association has McPherson ranked second in the state behind Wichita Collegiate. Smoky Valley is ranked third and Hesston is in the top five. Other schools include Buhler, Chapman, Clay Center, Colby, Concordia and Larned.
“Larned has a good player and Buhler has two or three very good players,” Stredney said.
“You want to win the first match,” he said of regional, adding the top six qualify for the state, hosted by Topeka-Hayden May 11-12. “Then if you lose the second, you still have a chance to go to state. It didn’t used to be that way, only four would go.”
Stredney said Billy Yeager at No. 2 singles and Ben Weissenbach and Trey Jackson came through at the league tournament.
“Billy won two nice matches,” he said. “He started off with a big win against the Concordia kid (Matt Gayton), 8-3. That was a needed win. We didn’t really realize it at the time.”
He lost to Marysville’s Tommy McNish and he beat Shane Williams of Chapman 8-0.
“The two doubles team started off with a huge win against Concordia’s twos,” Stredney said. “It looked like our guys were going to start off with a loss. Concordia got ahead of our guys but Trey and Ben battled, got it to six all, won the next and got ahead 7-6 then closed it out 8-6. Those were two critical points at the time.”
Weissenbach and Jackson lost to Marysville 8-5 and defeated Riley O’Neal and Nathan Nelson of Chapman. Kaleb Koerperich and Tanner Wright of Marysville placed as the No. 1 doubles at the Concordia Invitational on Thursday. They played No. 2 at NCKL.
Chapman scored two points as Shane Williams defeated Matt Gayton of Concordia 8-4.
April 26, Abilene
Team: Abilene 26, Marysville 21, Concordia 11, Chapman 2.
No. 1 Singles: Barlow (A) won over James Tyler (Con) 8-0, won over Tyler Taphorn (M) 8-0, won over David Floyd (Ch) 8-0. Floyd (Ch) lost to Taphorn (M) 8-2, lost Tyler (Con) 8-2.
No. 1 Doubles: Anderson/Kijowski (A) won over Rohorit/Timme (Con) 8-1, won over McNish/Wright (M) 8-0, won over Jonathan Terry/Adrian Fink (Ch) 8-0. Terry Fink (Ch) lost to McNish/Wright (M) 8-1, lost to Rohorit/Timme (Con) 8-0.
No. 2 singles: Billy Yeager (A) won over Matt Gayton (Con) 8-3, lost to Tommy McNish (M) 8-2, won over Shane Williams (Ch) 8-0. Williams (Ch) lost to McNish (M), won over McNish (Con) 8-4.
No. 2 doubles: Ben Weissenbach/Trey Jackson (A) won over Cater Champlin/Fred Nordberg (Con) 8-6, lost to Kaleb Koerperich/Tanner Wright (M) 8-5, won over O’Neal/Nelson (Ch) 8-0. Riley O’Neal/Nathan Nelson (Ch) lost to Koerperich/T. Wright (M) 8-0, lost to Champlin/Nordberg (Con) 8-0.