--article by Jarrod Peterson, Ledger sports editor; photo by Rig Gelfand, MSAE athletic director
DES MOINES – While four of the five area schools were off this weekend, Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment was not.
Instead, the Pioneers were busy trying to earn a few victories on the tennis court.
It was the season opener for the defending state champion Pioneers and they faced some stiff competition to get their season started.
The Pioneers faced Marshalltown in their first match, and the boys came out swinging.
The Pioneers jumped all over Marshalltown, winning the match (7-2), including four of six singles’ matches, and swept the doubles’ matches 3-0.
In the Pioneers’ next match against perennial rival Pella, the story was a little different.
The Pioneers competed hard, but Pella proved to be just a little too much. Pella won the match by a score of 5-4.
In the singles’ matches, Maharishi School’s Sam Stickels defeated Pella’s Jamison Roozeboom 6-2, 6-2.
Pella’s Tom Petit responded by taking the second match against MSAE’s Chandre Morales 6-4, 6-2.
The Pioneers’ Kai Vessey took the first set from Pella’s Sam Dykstra, 6-4. However, Dykstra rebounded to take the second set, 6-2, and then the tiebreaker, 10-7, in order to win the match.
Coin Jones got the better of the Pioneers’ David Wadsworth in the fourth match. Jones won 7-6, 7-6 to put Pella in the driver’s seat with a 3-1 match advantage at that point.
MSAE’s Daniel Zhu got the Pioneers back on track when he defeated Ani Tangellapalli 6-3, 6-4.
The Pioneer’s Caleb Mullenneaux couldn’t keep that momentum going as he lost a close match to Nathan Chaplin, 6-2, 6-4.
In the doubles’ matches, the Pioneers were far better than Pella, but it wouldn’t be enough.
Roozeboom and Petit defeated Stickels and Wadsworth 7-6, 6-2.
The Pioneers responded, though. Morales and Vessey won the first set 6-1 against Dykstra and Jones. Pella’s duo responded with a 6-2 victory in the next set, but Morales and Vessey took the tiebreaker game 10-7 to win the match.
Zhu and Mullenneaux teamed up in the third doubles’ match and had to rally to win the match. After dropping the first set to Tangellapalli and Chaplin, 2-6, the Pioneers rebounded to win the second set by a score of 6-4 to force another tiebreaker game. Zhu and Mulleneaux were too much in the extra set, winning 10-7, to take the match.
“We knew Pella was a strong team,” said Pioneers’ head coach Steve Briggs. “They [Pella] were a little more experienced than us coming into this season and they showed it today. Despite that, there were many positives for us to take away from our two matches.”
Maharishi School (1-1) will return to the court on Thursday when it will host Burlington-Notre Dame.
The results of the Marshalltown–MSAE match were not posted at the time of the story.