Powhatan’s boys tennis team this season had a long road back to the playoffs.
But as faith would have it, said Powhatan head coach Lee Kelley, the players' hard work and quick learning paid off.
Powhatan managed to secure a spot after beating Monacan 6-3 and losing a tight 5-4 team match to L.C. Bird.
Systematically, Powhatan, who earlier in the season picked up two team wins over Monacan (5-4) and Manchester (9-0) for three wins total, qualified as the No. 2 seed in Class 4, Region B’s South subregion and went on the road to face No. 1 North seed Eastern View (5-0).
“The start of the season gave no promise nor indicators of the Indians making the playoffs. With one returning starter, Jacob Pfab, positions 2–6 had to learn quickly and work hard to become competitive due to the lack of experience,” Kelley said. “Riding a wave of solid of skills and knowledge of point control, Jacob Pfab was able to roll through the season with an unbeaten record of 10-0.”
The ebb and flow of momentum for positions 2 – 6 allowed the Indians to always have a chance at winning with the exception of its match with Cosby, Kelley noted.
“As one or two players gained momentum, the other teammates would lose it; throughout the season, no one knew where the major wins would come from. Adjusting to different styles of play is only gained through experience,” Kelley said. “Knowing what to do when you are evenly matched, better skilled or less skilled, comes through playing. As the team learning curve progressed, the matches were closer. But acquiring how to play deuce, 30-40 and 40-30 points to win games remained challenging as observed during the playoff match. Long hard-fought games were consistently won by Eastern View players and Powhatan had no answers.”
Eastern View won the team match 5-1 to end the Indians’ team season, but the Cyclones’ sweep was prevented by Pfab. The junior secured his unbeaten team season by routing Eastern View’s No. 1 Bryce Johnson 6-0, 6-1. Despite the defeat in the match, two of Pfab’s teammates won games in their sets. James Frame won 6 in a 6-3, 6-3 setback to Joey Galvin and Kayden Rogers won 3 in a 6-0, 6-3 loss to Jack Fracher.
Powhatan’s match with Eastern View was its third in four days this past week. The Indians opened the three-match stretch with a 6-3 triumph over Monacan last Monday. In singles, Pfab swept Alex Palczyski 6-0, 6-0, Frame won a 10-4 third-set tiebreaker over Chris Counoupas after splitting the first sets 6-1 and 5-7, Rogers routed Chris Johnson 6-2 and 6-0 and Peter Rusin won a 10-4 third-set tiebreaker over Ajai Upadhyaya after splitting the first sets 3-6 and 6-3. In doubles, Pfab and Voorhees routed Howard and Palczyski 8-1, and Frame and Rusin edged past Counoupas and Upadhyaya 8-6.
Powhatan played L.C. Bird last Tuesday in its regular-season finale. In the team’s 5-4 setback to the Skyhawks, Pfab swept Michael Singer 6-0, 6-0, Frame persevered in tight sets over Hunter McGrath 7-6, 7-5, Rusin powered past Cole Kieling 7-6, 6-2 and both Rusin and Frame in doubles edged past McGrath and Kieling 8-6.
“For Powhatan next year the script will be flipped with all players returning except one,” Kelley said. “A summer, fall and winter of hard training should render better results.”