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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Cooksey, Hamilton win first match as partners, help Valley beat Knox

Singles players Manuel, Ragon win in 6-0, 6-0 routs


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Tristyn Ragon

AKRON — Tippecanoe Valley’s Cameron Manuel said that a No. 1 singles tennis player cannot wait around for his opponent to make a mistake.

Rather, he must be aggressive.

Manuel has made the move from No. 2 to No. 1 for his senior season and took his match to Knox’s A.J. Turner, rolling to a 6-0, 6-0 win and helping the Vikings claim a 3-2 win over the visiting Redskins at the TVHS courts Wednesday.

Valley’s other points came from Tristyn Ragon, who also shut out Isaiah Heineman 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles; and Ian Cooksey and DeOndre Hamilton, who in their first match as partners handled Nolan Short and Drew Simpson 6-4, 6-0 at No. 1 doubles.

Knox’s points came from Ryker Peterson and Coy Taulbee, who beat Brent Smith and Noah Mellott 6-0, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles; and Rocco Venice, who beat William Mellott 3-6, 6-3, (10-7) in a decisive super tiebreak after they split the first two sets and after Valley had already clinched the team victory.

William Mellott, a sophomore, was playing varsity singles for the first time in a spot that Hamilton had previously occupied.

Both Cooksey and Hamilton stand well over six feet and were able to cover much of the net against their shorter opponents.

“They did well,” Valley first-year coach Thadd Mellott said. “They’re both long and lanky, so anytime you get those two guys at the net, I think it presents a problem for the other team, so they handled themselves well today after they got going.”

Manuel was the No. 2 singles player behind Dylan Neese for two years before ascending to No. 1 this year. The move up has forced the left-handed Manuel to hit more backhands and approach the net more for volleys.

“At two singles, you can kind of get away with just rallying and hoping the other kid will just mess up, but at one singles, you have to be more aggressive and go for winners a lot more, and you have to hit your corners because most of the time, if you hit a ball right up the middle against the better players, they’re going to hit a winner.”

Ragon, a junior, had primarily played doubles on the varsity prior to this year, and he was playing No. 1 doubles in practice before coach Mellott moved him to No. 2 singles right before the opener against Rochester on Aug. 15.

“He did everything well today,” coach Mellott said. “He’s been playing better lately. … He’s finally getting a little bit more confidence in his forehand, getting to the net when he needs to and finishing his shots.”

Coach Mellott has made the transition from coaching girls golf to coaching boys tennis.

“I really enjoy coaching these guys,” coach Mellott said. “We’re pretty inexperienced, so my biggest thing when we first got out here was to try to recruit athletes. I don’t care if they’ve never picked up a racket before. Tennis is one of those sports that if you put in a little time during the season and I can get you into some offseason stuff, I think I can develop you into a decent varsity tennis player by the time you’re a junior or senior.

“I have a lot of sophomores and one freshman, and I got some eighth-graders to come out and practice with us a little bit too. So I think the future looks good. I think even since Day 1 four weeks ago, the team has gotten quite a bit better, and I’m pretty excited about the future.”

Results: Tippecanoe Valley 3, Knox 2

Singles

Cameron Manuel (TV) def. A.J. Turner (KNOX), 6-0, 6-0

Tristyn Ragon (TV) def. Isaiah Heineman (KNOX), 6-0, 6-0

Rocco Venice (KNOX) def. William Mellott (TV), 3-6, 6-3, (10-7)

Doubles

Ian Cooksey-DeOndre Hamilton (TV) def. Nolan Short-Drew Simpson (KNOX), 6-4, 6-0

Ryker Peterson-Coy Taulbee (KNOX) def. Noah Mellott-Brent Smith (TV), 6-0, 6-2


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