CEDAR RAPIDS – Seeing the end of a four-year run of Mississippi Valley Conference division titles last season left a bitter taste in the mouth of Linn-Mar boys’ tennis coach Chris Wundram.
His Lions made it a goal to get it back.
“We talked about when somebody takes something from you, you want to take it back,” Wundram said after Linn-Mar downed Cedar Rapids Washington, 6-3, to clinch at least a share of the MVC Valley Division title Tuesday at Washington. “We’ve had a pretty good rivalry with Washington over the past couple of years, so it’s a little bit sweeter to win it on their courts.”
It is the fifth MVC division crown for Linn-Mar (13-1, 10-1 MVC) in the past six years, and the Lions can win the title outright with a victory at Dubuque Hempstead on Friday – a dual which has already been postponed twice due to weather.
Senior Brady Anderson, the defending Class 2A state singles champion, bounced back after dropping his first set at No. 1 singles to oust sophomore Jackson Hoyt in a tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-3, 10-5.
“He was playing loose and confident, and I was kind of on the defense,” Anderson said. “I had trouble getting my game going, but eventually I was able to find it and came back.”
The Lions won five of six singles’ matches to clinch the dual before doubles play began. Linn-Mar junior Tim Paulson fought through a head cold and won four of the final five games in the second set to overpower a game Ian Schweiger, 6-3, 7-5, at No. 2 singles.
“It’s hard to breathe when you’re in long points, it gets tough on your lungs,” Paulson said. “Try not to look at the score when I was down and just fight my way through it.”
Neither team had lost since two-time defending state champion Iowa City West brought its 41-match winning streak up I-380 and won duals over both Metro squads on April 19.
Oliver Hammond scored a 7-6, 7-6 win over Ben Myers for the lone singles win for Washington (10-2, 10-2 MVC).
Both teams begin district play on Thursday.
AT C.R. WASHINGTON
Linn-Mar 6, C.R. Washington 3
Singles – Brady Anderson (LM) def. Jackson Hoyt, 3-6, 6-3, 10-5; Tim Paulson (LM) def. Ian Schweiger, 6-3, 7-5; Trevor McCann (LM) def. Parker Muller, 6-3, 6-4; Oliver Hammond (CRW) def. Ben Myers, 7-6, 7-6; Kyle Brendes (LM) def. Dane Van Antwerp, 6-2, 6-3; Shane Skvor (LM) def. Ian McElree, 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles – Anderson/McCann (LM) def. Schweiger/Hammond, 6-2, 6-0; Hoyt/Muller (CRW) def. Paulson/Brendes, 6-2, 6-2; Van Antwerp/McElree (CRW) def. Myers/Skvor, 1-6, 6-3, 10-8.