Thanks to default at No. 2 doubles, Valley prevails over Mishawaka
Reiter wins at No. 3 singles, Pettit-Walls prevail at No. 1 doubles
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
AKRON –- Mishawaka High School is listed as having an enrollment of 1,477. Tippecanoe Valley has an enrollment of 544.
Yet it was the smaller school that won thanks to the numbers game in a match at the Valley courts Monday.
Valley beat the Cavemen 3-2 with one of the points coming on a default at No. 2 doubles because Mishawaka did not have enough players.
That gave Brady Minix and Tristyn Ragon a win without having to lift their rackets.
Valley’s other points came from Wyatt Reiter at No. 3 singles and Annakin Pettit and Cooper Walls at No. 1 doubles.
Pettit and Walls topped Finn Bobos and Lowell Parker 6-3, 6-0. Reiter pulled away in the second set to defeat Christian Nelson 6-4, 6-0.
Pettit and Walls has an odd-couple dynamic. The taller Pettit thrives at the net while the shorter Walls is better at the baseline.
“Annakin wants to be at the net,” Valley coach Nick Kindig said. “Cooper wants to be back, but we’re always working on having both at the net or both back whatever it may be, but definitely, Annakin’s strength is net, and Cooper’s strength is baseline.”
As for Reiter, it appeared that Nelson kept testing his backhand. The strategy failed as Reiter appeared equally strong with either groundstroke.
“That was Wyatt’s best match he’s played all year,” Kindig said. “He’s told me he likes hitting his backhand more than his forehand, which you don't see very often. … He’s definitely comfortable either way, but he played really well, and he won the match for us tonight.”
In the other matches, Dylan Neese suffered a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Mishawaka’s Jacob Dixon at No. 1 singles and Cam Manuel suffered a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Matt Peletier at No. 2 singles.
Dixon’s smooth style included use of heavy topspin with his forehand.
Peletier attacked the net at every chance against Manuel.
“We talked about it early in the match, Cam keeping the ball deep and try to avoid that kid coming to the net because the kid was really good when he got there. And when the kid would come to the net, make him have to move side to side instead of try to lob him every time and there’s a small margin for error there. And then a lot of times, you’re getting an overhead hit at you. So keeping the ball deep and moving that guy side to side were keys, and he did that better second set but not enough.”
Kindig said Valley has nine players and Mishawaka had eight. He said he believed that Mishawaka was missing players due to contact tracing, which prevented them from having a No. 2 doubles team.
Valley has no seniors, and Kindig said he believes there are a couple of TVMS eighth-graders who will join the team next year. Valley only had three players in Kindig’s first year as coach three years ago.
RESULTS: VALLEY 3, MISHAWAKA 2
Jacob Dixon (MISH) def. Dylan Neese (TV), 6-2, 6-2
Matt Peletier (MISH) def. Cam Manuel (TV), 6-2, 6-3
Wyatt Reiter (TV) def. Christian Nelson (MISH), 6-4, 6-0
Annakin Pettit-Cooper Walls (TV) def. Finn Bobos (MISH), 6-3, 6-0
Brady Minix-Tristyn Ragon (TV) won by default.