Three third-set tiebreakers told the story, even if they didn't determine the outcome of the meet.
The Ames boys' tennis team showed its ability to finish on a perfect Tuesday evening at the MHS tennis courts, putting away the Bobcats 10-1 in the Central Iowa Conference Northern Division opener for both squads.
The Little Cyclones started and, more importantly, finished as the aggressors throughout the dual and found their style of play effective yet again. The defending Class 2A runners-up won all three matches that reached the third set, finishing off with a 5-0 doubles sweep despite some close contests along the way.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Marshalltown senior Riley Wirth makes a backhand return during doubles play against Ames on Tuesday at the MHS tennis courts. Wirth collected the Bobcats’ lone victory during singles action as the visiting Little Cyclones scored a 10-1 win in CIC Northern Division competition.
"Ames finished the matches tough," said MHS coach James Christensen. "(Monday) against Grinnell we played about the same and we won the tiebreakers. We finished them off the way we should.
"Ames and Valley are both very good teams top to bottom, they're not going to give you any matches at all."
Marshalltown's lone victory came from senior Riley Wirth in the No. 6 singles slot. He prevailed in his first varsity singles match in straight sets over Patrick Jasper, 7-5, 6-0.
Ames 10, Marshalltown 1
Tommy Pitcher (A) def. Ryan Shomo, 5-7, 7-5, (10-0)
Andrew Ellis (A) def. Kalei Platt, 6-1, 6-1
Tim Loe (A) def. Blake Gimbel, 6-4, 6-2
Sam Lee (A) def. Adam Podhajsky, 6-1, 6-2
Franklin Dobyns (A) def. Jameson Eberline, 2-6, 7-6, (10-6)
Riley Wirth (MHS) def. Patrick Jasper, 7-5, 6-0
Alex Qin and Pitcher (A) def. Shomo and Platt, 6-0, 6-1
Loe and Lee (A) def. Gimbel and Eberline, 6-1, 6-2
Kushan Tyagi and Dobyns (A) def. Drayton Lents and Podhajsky, 7-5, 6-2
Ben Tuggle and Jasper (A) def. Ben Anzis and Wirth, 7-5, 4-6, (10-4)
Charlie Fei and Nick Leung (A) def. Tyler Ashby and Kade Vopava, 6-4, 6-3
The Bobcats (5-4, 0-1) had plenty of fight in them, but not enough to counter Ames' accuracy and move-forward attitude at the net. Ryan Shomo scored a 7-5 first-set victory over Tommy Pitcher at the No. 1 singles spot, but Pitcher took the second set 7-5 and then swept the tiebreaker, 10-0. The loss dropped Shomo's singles record to 7-2 this season.
Jameson Eberline won a 6-2 opener against Franklin Dobyns at No. 5, but Dobyns edged him 7-6 in the second set and then 10-6 in the third.
The last match on the court was the No. 4 doubles pairing of Ben Anzis and Wirth against Ben Tuggle and Jasper. The Ames duo claimed the opening set 7-5, but Anzis and Wirth climbed back to take the second, 6-4.
As they had all night, the Little Cyclones pushed through at the end with a 10-4 triumph in the third-set tiebreaker.
Adam Podhajsky and Drayton Lents left an impression with their 7-5, 6-2 loss to Kushen Tyagi and Dobyns in the No. 3 doubles match, according to Christensen. The defeat was the Bobcat pairing's first of the season (4-1).
"I don't think that second set was a reflection of how close their match was," Christensen said. "Their singles games have been up and down all year, but in doubles we can count on them to bring their 'A' games every time out."
Now that the weather has begun to cooperate, the Bobcats talked about surviving a grueling stretch of meets heading into the May 9 district tournament, which MHS hosts. Marshalltown closes this week out with CIC North duals Thursday at Mason City and Friday at Fort Dodge.
"First off from tonight, we talked about finding the positives from it, because each (player) had a good spot they can build from," Christensen said. "They might not be happy with their performance, but they each have something to build on.
"And we walked about taking care of our bodies, nutrition and our bumps and bruises, because we don't have a lot of time to recover."