It looked like a fun week of tennis on the schedule as the Festus Tigers geared up for three matches. The first match of the week went as planned with a big win, but injuries piled up towards the end of the week, leaving the team filling starting slots with younger players.
Up first, Festus dominated Windsor, winning every match on the day, and bringing home the clean sweep 9-0.
Ryan Esparza started it off with an 8-5 win. Daxton Burgett won 8-1. Paige Wilkinson shut out her foe 8-0. Also with a shut out, Dustin Peters won 8-0. Makenzie McJunkins got in on the shut out roll with an 8-0 win. Lastly, Connor Zustiak defeated his opponent 8-1.
All the teams were successful in doubles as well. Esparza and Burgett won 8-1. Wilkinson and Peters defeated their opponent 8-4. McJunkins and Zustiak also won 8-4.
The next day, Festus challenged St. Pius in a match, but came up short in the loss 6-3. Head Coach Angie Tinnin noted, “With two players missing from the lineup, these Tigers all rose to the occasion as the match progressed, just falling two matches short of a win.”
Esparza earned a win by an injury forfeit. Burgett lost 8-1. Wilkinson won 8-4. Peters won in extra time 9-7. McJunkins also forced the extra game, but couldn’t get it done in a 9-7 loss. Lastly, Zustiak took it to his opponent in an 8-2 win.
Tinnin commented on her players, and said, “In singles, the Tigers came extremely close to grabbing enough wins to clinch the victory. Peters played with such determination. Zustiak continued his perfect winning record. McJunkins battled to the end, with such heart and drive, before falling to her opponent.”
All three doubles teams were unsuccessful, but McJunkins and Zustiak kept it close, losing 9-7. Esparza and Burgett lost 8-4 and Wilkinson and Peters lost 8-5.
The Tigers’ struggles continued against North County on Thursday, April 19th, losing 7-2. Tinnin spoke on her fractured lineup, and said, “With injuries plaguing the team, missing two of the top six players, we were placed in positions of competing out of our normal slot in the lineup. Our younger players were very willing to step up and cover other rank positions for the team.”
In singles play, Burgett lost 8-1, as did Wilkinson who lost 8-1. Peters was successful, defeating his opponent 8-3. McJunkins was not, losing 8-2. Zustiak added a win 8-5, but Jake Steward fell 8-4.
All three doubles teams were defeated, with McJunkins and Zustiak coming the closest, losing 9-7.
The Tigers have no time to sulk with a busy week ahead. They will play the Crystal City Hornets on Monday, May 3rd for Senior Night. Next, they travel to Windsor on Tuesday, May 4th for the Kevin Stoffey Invitational Tournament. Finally, the Tigers play host to the District Tournament on Friday, May 7th.