“Substate makes for a long day,” a sunburned Coach Briggs explained. “We departed for Pella at 6:30 and returned at 6:30. We had grown accustomed to hosting substate here in Fairfield."
The Pioneers squared off against Pella in the morning match while Grinnell faced Fort Madison.
Led by #1 Chandre Morales and #2 Kai Vessey, the Pioneers quickly put two points on the board only to see their lead erased when Pella returned the favor at #3 and #6 singles. “It was a seesaw battle with each team winning 3 singles points,” said Briggs. “We're confident in our doubles teams, and all 3 teams played great.” Daniel Zhu and Devan Burke clinched the deciding match for the Pioneers with a 6-2, 6-4 win. “Devan and Daniel don’t overpower their opponents, but they’re sneaky quick around the net. Neither guy hits his serve over 40 miles an hour, but they play with a lot of heart."
“Devan deserves recognition for his gutsy play today,” said Briggs. "Devan’s only been playing tennis for a few months, but he won two key points against Pella. His singles match went down to the wire, a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win. Devan saved his best tennis for when the match was on the line. In Burlington just few weeks ago Devan complained that he didn’t have a clue what he was doing on court. Suffice to say Devan learns quickly.”
In the afternoon match against Grinnell, the Pioneers repeated their morning domination at #1 and #2 singles. “Chandre and Kai are our money players. It helps knowing you’ve got three points (2 singles and 1 doubles) in the bank before you walk on court. Kai put the first point on the board with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Edward LaPotto while Chandre defeated Jonah Benning-Shorb 6-1, 6-4.
According to Briggs, “Grinnell was deeper than Pella. Their senior dominated lineup was physically stronger than our younger players, and that proved to be a factor as the match wore on under a hot afternoon sun.”
"Against Grinnell, Devan’s stellar play in the morning was blunted a bit by fatigue, and Daniel Zhu played back to back three set matches in singles plus two doubles matches. Daniel was on court maybe six hours today and he weighs in at 110 pounds. Daniel and Devan gave it everything they had, but they were exhausted. Still they were leading their doubles match against Grinnell when the match was stopped after Grinnell clinched the meet 5-3.
“I was pleased with the boys and so we celebrated at Jaarsma Bakery followed by a stop for ice cream. This group is really close. I’m looking forward to seeing our four sophomores develop over the next couple of years.”
Thursday the Pioneer trio of Chandre Morales, Kai Vessey, and Daniel Zhu travel to Waterloo for the state individual tournament. “The boys are really looking forward to Waterloo. Playing in the state singles has been a life long dream of Chandre’s."
Maharishi School def Pella 5-3
Maharishi School Pella
#1 Chandre Morales def Ani Tangallapelli 6-1, 6-0
#2 Kai Vessey def Michael Reed 6-0, 6-1
#3 Caleb Mullenneaux lost to Benjamin Lauritsen 6-1, 6-4
#4 Daniel Zhu lost to Reid Leidigh 4-6, 7-6, 6-4
#5 Devan Burke def Ryan Van Maanen 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
#6 Karthik Venpati lost to Colton Edwards 6-2, 6-4
#1 doubles Chandre/Kai def Reed/Lauritsen 6-2, 6-0
#2 doubles Caleb/Karthik leading Tangipalli/Edwards 6-3, 5-7, 2-1
#3 doubles Devan/Daniel def Van Maanen/Leidigh 6-4, 6-2
Grinnell def Maharishi School 5-3
Maharishi School Grinnell
#1 Chandre Morales def Jonah Benning-Shorb 6-1, 6-4
#2 Kai Vessey def Edward LoPatto 6-1, 6-1
#3 Caleb Mullenneaux lost to Adam Van Ersvelde 6-3, 6-2
#4 Daniel Zhu lost to John Trettin 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
#5 Devan Burke lost to Matt Thompson 6-3, 6-3
#6 Karthik Venpati lost to Nick Jacobson 6-1, 6-4
#1 doubles Chandre/Kai def Benning-Shorb/LoPatto 6-3, 6-2
#2 doubles Caleb/Karthik lost to VanErsevelde/Trettin 6-1, 6-1
#3 doubles Devan/Daniel leading Thompson/Jacobson 7-6