With a 5-4 win Monday over previously undefeated West Burlington-Notre Dame, the Maharishi School tennis team improved to 5-0 in duals, plus a first and second place finish in their annual Pioneer Invitational at the MUM Punj Tennis Center with their team divided.
April 24 versus Burlington
Devan Burke, Daniel Zhu and Frank Li Wang won their singles matches in straight sets against the Greyhounds, and although Bhavani Allison and Karthik Vempati needed a third, all five players helped give the Pioneers a 5-1 advantage headed into the doubles matches. Burke and Zhu teamed up for a 6-0, 6-1 win while Allison and Vempati recovered from a first set loss to win 4-6, 6-3 (11-9).
?We had some tight matches that might have gone the other way if our players hadn?t played their best tennis when it counted,? said Coach Briggs. ?Devan and Daniel dominated their singles and doubles, but the other matches were really close.?
Pioneer Player of the Match: Bhavani Allison
?Bhavani Allison?s match at #3 proved pivotal. After losing the first set, Bhavani played more aggressively and rolled through the second set and deciding tie-breaker,? said Briggs. ?Bhavani and Karthik also won a tight match at #2 doubles, once again coming from behind to clinch the match 11-9 in the 3rd set tie-breaker.?
April 26 versus Iowa City West junior varsity
Like the Pioneers, the Trojans have some international tennis players on their roster with two Mexican and a Croatian student competing for West High. The Pioneers have athletes from Sweden, China, Australia, and India and Coach Briggs said, ?It?s fun to see such good sportsmanship on every court,? when reflecting on the positive vibe at the meet.
On the court, Vessey was joined by Burke and Allison who all won in straight sets. Zhu and Vempati also won their singles matches, it just took three sets for each to claim victory. Doubles went to the Pioneers who took two of three matchups thanks to Vessey/Zhu and Allison/Vempati.
Pioneer Player of the Match: Kai Vessey
?Kai got off to a slow start this spring due to a sore shoulder which kept him from practicing, but he?s playing solid tennis now and we expect him to be even better in late May which is when he typically takes his game up a couple levels,? says Briggs. ?Kai has always been dominant in post season. In fact, he is undefeated in post season dual meet competition over the past three years, including several impressive wins as a freshman when the Pioneers finished 2nd in the state tournament.?
April 28 Pioneer Invitational
Maharishi School dominated their annual invitational at the MUM Punj Tennis Center, scoring 120 points with their Gold Team and 113 points with their Green Team to finish ahead of Fairfield High, Davis County, and Albia.
Daniel Zhu won the singles flight, edging teammate David Zhang 33 to 32 in total games won. Pioneer duo Kai Vessey and Devan Burke lost only 1 game the entire day in the #1 doubles bracket, defeating FHS duo, Gannon Courtright and Logan Williams, 10-1. In the second flight singles competition, Pioneer Karthik Vempati finished 1st place followed by teammate, Bhavani Allison.
The second flight doubles was won by Dante Cingire and AJ Greiner of FHS.
Pioneer Player of the Match: Karthik Vempati.
?Karthik?s won some big matches for us over the years,? said Briggs. ?At district last year, Karthik?s singles match turned out to be the deciding point. Karthik keeps his head under pressure, sometimes he maybe a bit too relaxed.?
Gold 120 points
Green 113 points
Fairfield 108 points
Davis County 55 points
Albia 44 points
May 1 versus WB-Notre Dame
After the FHS girls? team beat WB-Notre Dame Monday in Fairfield, the Maharishi School played the undefeated boys team at Dankwardt Park Tuesday in Burlington, also coming away with a victory for Silicorn Valley.
The Pioneers won 5-4 with Vessey, Burke, Zhu and Vempati winning in straight sets, while Zhang and Allison lost in two sets each on the singles side.
Needing just one victory in the three doubles matches, Vessey and Burke came through with an 8-0 statement victory.
Pioneer Player of the Match: Kai Vessey who won all 20 games he played.
?We?re looking for consistency at this point in the season, but I felt we could have played a better at some positions and especially in doubles,? said Pioneer Coach Briggs.
?Burlington has some very steady players which made it more of a mental than a physical challenge.
We expect our players to win the mental battles and so we?ve got to get a stronger that area. The will to compete and win often makes the difference. Top athletes don?t even consider fatigue. They play on and on. That?s an area where we need improvement.?