Rochester reboots season with home win over North Judson
Zink, Strasser win at singles; Reinartz-Smith pull out 3-set win at No. 1 doubles; Bozzo-Freeman also win
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
With six of their seven varsity players playing for the first time in 10 days, the Rochester boys tennis team seemingly restarted their season with a 4-1 win over sectional rival North Judson at the RHS courts Tuesday.
Rochester’s record is 4-1 going into their Three Rivers Conference opener against defending conference champ Peru Thursday.
“Tonight was a very gritty win,” Rochester coach Jesse Atkinson said. “There were several moments throughout the match at various positions where the tennis wasn’t absolutely just stunningly beautiful. … However, the guys got it done. They really beared down and got the job done when they needed them to.”
The senior-less Zebras got wins from Brayden Zink at No. 1 singles and Drew Strasser at No. 3 singles.
Zink shut out A.J. Bau in the second set and pulled away for a 6-3, 6-0 win.
“I came out the first few games a little rusty,” Zink said. “I got my serves in, and then I was feeling better and better as the match went on.”
Zink has gone from No. 2 doubles – he partnered with Brock Beehler – as a freshman to No. 2 singles as a sophomore to No. 1 singles as a junior.
“Going from No. 2 doubles to No. 2 singles was mostly trying to adjust getting shots in different lines … and having to rely on yourself,” Zink said. “Then from No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles, it was mostly just serving and positioning of points against your opponent. Hit it where they’re not.”
Strasser, the one Rochester player who played in a 5-0 win over LaVille last week – the other four wins were by default over a LaVille team that had only one player – won 6-2, 6-4 over Kayden Ginder at No. 3 singles.
In the No. 1 doubles match, Tanner Reinartz and Cody Smith rebounded after losing the second set and finished off Lucas Burkett and Kyle Japkowski 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.
“They played really well in the first set,” Atkinson said. “They definitely kind of eased off in their second set, and that was definitely what we talked about between sets. We can’t let that step back. That can’t be a part of our second set. We can’t let off. We can’t ease off in any way after taking that first set. So they came back out in the third set much more aggressive playing doubles how I would imagine they usually would in any given night, and they got the win. So that’s good stuff for them.”
Robert Bozzo and Jake Freeman cruised 6-0, 6-1 over Aidan Schact and Keegan Quinn at No. 2 doubles.
North Judson’s lone point came at No. 2 singles when Wyatt Stowe beat Brock Bowers 6-2, 7-6 (3).
For everybody but Strasser, their most recent matches came at the John Glenn Invitational on Aug. 21.
“Everybody was,” Atkinson replied when asked about rust. “Really, the last super-significant play was two Saturdays ago. That’s always going to be a fear. … Drew played against LaVille and played a good match against LaVille, but they’ve only got one kid on their team, so there’s only so much you can expect from that. I was a little nervous for tonight.”
The JV match ended in a 2-2 tie. Luke Hunting was responsible for both Zebra points.
RESULTS: ROCHESTER 4, NORTH JUDSON 1
Brayden Zink (RHS) def. A.J. Bau (NJSP), 6-3, 6-0
Wyatt Stowe (NJSP) def. Brock Bowers (RHS), 6-2, 7-6 (3)
Drew Strasser (RHS) def. Kayden Ginder (NJSP), 6-2, 6-4
Tanner Reinartz-Cody Smith (RHS) def. Lucas Burkett-Kyle Japkowski (NJSP), 6-0, 4-6, 6-1
Robert Bozzo-Jake Freeman (RHS) def. Keegan Quinn-Aidan Schact (NJSP), 6-0, 6-1
JV RESULTS: ROCHESTER 2, NORTH JUDSON 2
Luke Hunting (RHS) won 7-5 (first match).
Brady Morgan (RHS) lost 6-4.
Luke Hunting (RHS) won 6-3.
Cade Johnson-Caleb Wilson (RHS) lost 6-0.
Cody Smith Tanner Reinartz