Joplin tennis wins again, defends perfect record

Apr. 18—The Joplin boys tennis team improved to 7-0 in duals this season with a 7-2 win over Willard — a team that defeated the Eagles 8-1 last year — on Wednesday at Willard.

Joplin's No. 1 doubles team of Adam Badr and Leif Garrity dropped a close match against Willard's Seth Miller and Gabriel Hernandez 6-8, but both Joplin players logged wins in their singles matches.

In the No. 1 singles match against Miller, Badr got off to a strong start, but Miller rallied to take an 8-7 lead. Badr came back and took a 9-8 (7-5) tiebreaker win.

Garrity had a little easier time with Hernandez in their No. 2 singles match, winning 8-3.

"Leif placed the ball well and was able to capitalize on the opportunities he was given in this match," JHS head coach Aaron Stump said.

The Eagles No. 2 doubles combo of Ben Converse and Taylor Schlag cruised to an 8-0 win over Christian Ryan and Kooper Shipman.

"Ben and Taylor have really good chemistry in doubles." Stump said. "They communicate well, set up good points and are capable of competing at a high level. We're lucky to have this much talent at No. 2 doubles."

Both Shlagg and Converse won their singles matches. Converse prevailed 8-4 over Jonathan Lupescu in their No. 3 singles match, despite Lupescu having fresh legs after sitting out the doubles competition.

Shlagg posted an 8-2 win in his No. 5 singles match against Morgan Cruse. Stump praised Shlagg's consistency after the match.

In the No. 3 doubles match, Joplin's Josiah Hazlewood and Oscar Kienzle beat Willard's Cruse and Jyger Berry 8-5. Stump said the two paired up for the first time last week and are showing a lot of promise.

Hazlewood went on to win 8-1 in his No. 4 singles match against Ryan.

Stump talked about Hazlewood's progress after rehabbing from a torn meniscus.

"It's nice to have Josiah back at No. 4. He missed a few games early in the season, and his return has really helped our team's depth," Stump said.

In the No. 6 singles match, Kienzle fell 2-8 to Willard's Shipman.

Willard fell to 5-3 with the loss.

The Eagles return to action Friday when they host the Joplin Invitational at Joplin High School.