TROY — Troy tennis coach Mark Goldner said there is an obvious difference in tennis a year removed from a cancelled spring due to Covid-19.
But, as always, his team has risen to the challenges thrown at them.
Troy improved to 8-0 on the season with a 4-1 win over Sidney Thursday in MVL action.
“A lot of teams are struggling to get players out,” Goldner said. “We had one guy who played varsity as a freshman and didn’t come out this year. My biggest disappointment is the seniors (from last year). They were looking forward to that season and we were going to have a really strong team.”
Another challenge developed in the last two weeks for Troy, when first singles player Genki Masunaga started having issues with his calf muscles and defaulted two straight matches.
Masunaga has now played a couple matches at first doubles and Goldner hopes he will be back at first singles at some point, but there is really no way to no.
“He might not get back to playing first singles,” Goldner said. “Or he could end up getting back to first singles. There are a lot of unknowns right now.”
At the same time, Noah George and Wyatt Hench have stepped up to the challenge.
George has moved up to first singles and Hench has moved up to singles.
“Noah (George) has played great,” Goldner said. “He got his opportunity and he is taking advantage of it. He only lost the one match (at the Schroeder Invitational) to Miami Valley and it was 6-4. And he was up 40-love in one game that he lost. Then he came back from 5-3 down to Butler and won. So, he is getting better.”
Hench won second singles at the Schroeder Invitational.
“I know it was only one set (matches were one set at the Schroeder), but he had a big win over the Tipp kid,” Goldner said. “Wyatt (Hench) has played really well.”
George ran into a buzzsaw in Sidney’s Grant Hoying Thursday, losing 6-2, 6-1.
“Grant (Hoying) is a really good player,” Goldner said. “It will come down to who wins between him and Kessler Hackenberger (from Tippecanoe) who gets the first seed. That should be a good match. Noah (George) was in every game tonight. It is just a matter of winning the big points.”
Troy won the other four matches.
Hench defeated Takuma Furukawa 6-0, 6-0; and Henry Johnston defeated Brady Hagen 6-0, 6-0.
In doubles, Matt Bess and Genki Masunaga defeated Kaden Abbott and Conley New 6-1, 6-1 and Aiden Miller and Eli Monnin defeated Hideyuki Rochi and Noah Balduf 6-2, 6-0.
Goldner knows some big challenges lay ahead including Centerville, Beavercreek and Tippecanoe.
The Trojans were scheduled to play Centerville Friday and play at Tippecanoe Tuesday.
“Those matches make you better,” Goldner said.
Like every challenge the Trojans have already faced this season.