MHS Tennis Handshake

Maryville boys tennis sophomore Kristian Mendez and freshman Willian Sheil shake hands with Savannah players after their doubles match March 21 in Savannah, Missouri. Mendez and Sheil lost their match 7-2 in the season opener.

On a cold, 40-degree Tuesday afternoon, Maryville boys tennis team took a 6-3 loss against Savannah in the season-opener March 21.

The Spoofhounds went winless in doubles matches, going 0-3. To end the contest, the team went 3-3 in singles matches. Coach Nicole McGinness said it was a good experience for the whole team.

“We got a lot of new players this year, and we also have a few returning players that are helping their teammates out and showing the newcomers how to play,” McGinness said. “We have a few new guys that have made varsity already, so it is just getting everybody ready for the season.”

For any athlete in any sport, improvements are the main key to success. Sophomore Kristian Mendez, No. 1 in singles and doubles on the Spoofhounds roster, said he has his strategies in place to improve and maximize his style of play.

“I am mostly working on getting my serve in play and focusing on keeping the point in play so I have better results in the end,” Mendez said.

Maryville has only lost five games combined from the 2021 and 2022 seasons. The loss to the Savages marks the Spoofhounds’ third season-opening loss in four seasons — the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID.

McGinness said improvement is always the No. 1 priority to having great success in every match throughout the season, and the team has a reputation of taking losses as a learning experience.

“We really just hope that we can improve from last year in our doubles,” McGinness said. “And our singles are a major concern, but we hope that we can make a pretty good run into the postseason.”

Every player has postseason hopes throughout the season, and it is the same for 16 Maryville athletes, including Mendez.

He said the team can make huge strides so that his teammates can make the run alongside him.

“I feel like our team has a shot to make it past districts and to go well into the regional tournaments as long as we keep practicing and having that ‘it’ factor to make everyone better and achieve their goals,” Mendez said.

Maryville will host Cameron for their home-opener at 4 p.m. March 28 at the Frank Grube Courts on Northwest’s campus. The Spoofhounds host another Midland Empire Conference foe, Benton, at 4 p.m. March 29.

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