LA PORTE CITY — Ryan Mortenson’s length and range allowed him to do a lot Tuesday.
Oelwein’s No. 4 tennis player kept pressing and kept pushing and overcame losing a pair of one-game leads to best Union’s Sam Klein in a tiebreaker, 11-10 (9-7), on Tuesday. Mortenson was ahead most of the set and sported advantages of 8-7 and 10-9. Klein rallied multiple times to force the tiebreaking set.
Klein also rallied in the tiebreaker, knotting it at 5-all after being down three points early. The pair traded points twice before Mortenson dropped a point in for an 8-7 lead. He claimed the win on the next volley after Klein hit a ball wide.
It was one of the Huskies’ two wins as the Knights won their first dual match since April 2018 with a 7-2 victory.
“First time out playing in a while — it’s been a long time since we’ve had competitive play,” Union senior Tyson Fleshner said. “Me and Jacob (Hill) have just been playing each other for what feels like forever.
“It was good to have some fresh competition, play some new guys. Get back into the swing of things.”
Oelwein had to forfeit two matches because it was without No. 6 singles player Devon Pint. The Huskies opened the season with just six players total, which head coach Jason Yessak sees as a benefit.
“They’ll all get plenty of playing time,” he said.
“Getting out and being able to play is something they’ve been excited about for a while,” he added. “This was a good building block. You have to start somewhere.”
The schools decided to play 10-game pro sets with no-ad scoring, meaning a given game didn’t have to be won by two points if it was tied.
“We did a lot. We learned a lot,” Oelwein junior Colton Roete said. “I think we did all right for the first time out.”
Roete and Weston Woodson claimed the Huskies’ second win, a 10-2 victory at No. 2 doubles against Stirling Mullen and Klein. They pushed ahead quickly and turned a 4-2 score into a 10-2 win.
“Weston really picked it up at the front of the net,” Roete said. “He hit when he needed to and got some big points for us when they were needed.
“That’s not what I expected. I expected our singles to go strong and our doubles to just kind of go. But they seemed to have reversed roles today.”
Mortenson and Spencer Logan lost at No. 1 doubles, 10-4, to Fleshner and Hill. It was 3-3 early on, but the Knights’ pair collected three games in a row for a 6-3 lead and never looked back.
“Our two doubles served really well and Weston played really well at the net,” Yessak said. “Our one doubles have played together for a good three years now I believe.
“Ryan plays well at the net and Spencer’s game is really suited for doubles. The way he spins the ball, and he moves well. It’s a good start for everyone.”