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Experience displayed, gained as Spring Lake sweeps Fruitport

Duncan MacLean • Sep 12, 2017 at 12:03 AM

SPRING LAKE — The Battle for the Bayou hit the tennis courts Monday as the Fruitport boys tennis team paid a visit to Spring Lake High School.

As the Trojans continue to build their team to full strength, the Lakers swept the abbreviated contest taking shutout, two-set wins in all but one match.

Spring Lake gave up just one game over the course of the afternoon, as Reece Zeller stole a win from Jack VanWingen at No. 2 singles. VanWingen would win the match, 6-1, 6-0.

Rylan Peets defeated Nathan VanMeter at No. 1 singles, and Jake Kugler defeated James Wiegand at No. 3 singles.

Garrett Henning and David Ruptz swept Rhyan Mansfield and Jordan Bevins at No. 1 doubles, while Daniel Winter and Eric Geschiere took out Dominic Boukamp and Jordan Hennings at No. 2 doubles.

The remaining flights went to Spring Lake via forfeit, making victory a foregone conclusion for the Lakers, but that doesn’t mean an afternoon off for those who got the chance to play.

“There are always things to work on. This is a good time to practice at game speed,” Spring Lake head coach Cathy Layson said. “If you need to practice your serve and volley then focus on that. Make it purposeful.

“I really liked the way No’s. 1 and 2 singles played today. I could see Rylan working on his consistency but not stopping coming to the net, and Jack was doing the same thing.

“No. 2 singles was 6-1, 6-0, and I like that it was 6-1. That meant he was trying something new. He took the opportunity to try some new things and didn’t play it safe. I also liked the way No. 2 doubles played, they seemed to have some smart points and got into some longer rallies and figured out how to finish them.”

For Fruitport, a limited roster with varying levels of experience makes wins hard to come by, but that doesn’t stop the Trojans from coming out and giving it their all.

“We enjoy coming out and competing regardless of condition or result,” Fruitport head coach Brad Busscher said. “Obviously, Spring Lake as a little more experience than my guys and that demonstrated itself in some matches today.

“When you face a team like Spring Lake, the ball is always going to come back. The challenge here is to stay in the rally and pick your spot. We were hopeful that we could grab a couple of those spots and make a couple more shots, but the ball didn’t bounce our way today.”

The Trojans began the season with a five-man roster featuring a wide range of tennis experience. As of this week, they are up to seven players and looking to establish the groundwork for a successful future.

“Overall, we just need to raise our skill level. Our skill level is not where we want it to be and experience is lacking, but the desire and the motivation is there, there is no doubt about it,” Busscher said. “We talked from the beginning that tennis isn’t just sport, it is similar to life - whatever you put in, you get out. We have seen great commitment from our core guys.

“We only have two seniors, so all these guys basically will be returning. So, it is a learning experience, but it is also about improving each and every day. That is a life skill.”

Fruitport will look to continue improving and growing their team skill against Mona Shores at home on Monday, while the Lakers travel to West Catholic for a tough O-K Blue Conference matchup Wednesday.

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