FOUNTAIN CITY, Ind. – Eric Hollingsworth comes from a family with a long tennis history, which includes father and current varsity coach Randy Hollingsworth.
Grant Esposito said he and his father and varsity coach Mike Esposito are the only two from his family to play the sport.
Eric Hollingsworth said he has been playing since he was 5 years old; Grant Esposito started at age 11.
In Wednesday’s season opener, Grant Esposito rallied for an exciting victory in a No. 1 singles match between coaches’ sons and all-state players.
Still, Hollingsworth and his Richmond High School teammates finished the night with a 3-2 victory over Northeastern, which Mike Esposito said was the first home loss for the Knights since 2009.
“These guys are outstanding competitors. I look forward to watching them just because it’s fun — win or lose,” coach Esposito said. ” … We’ve never had two all-state guys play on our court after the fact, not prior to being all-state. Me and Randy were talking about it. I talked to coach (Gary) Eagles. I said, ‘Arguably the two best players ever to play in Wayne County.’ It was a heck of a match.
” … Anybody who didn’t get to see this that was doing nothing else between 4:30 and 7 o’clock tonight missed a pretty good show.”
Esposito rallied after dropping the first set to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. It was the first time the two met in a varsity match after Esposito played No. 2 singles as a junior, Hollingsworth’s freshman year.
That was last fall when Esposito and the Knights became the smallest public school to ever advance to the Indiana state finals, winning a first semistate title, a second straight regional, a fourth straight sectional and a third straight Tri-Eastern Conference title.
Hollingsworth went 24-2 as a freshman and advanced to the individual regional.
“It was a great match,” Esposito said. “Eric, he’s a tremendous player. Me and him, we can flip-flop any day, but I think he started getting a little tired at the end. It was great to win, but I would have loved to pull out the team match. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the team match, but I’m glad I won.”
The pair was the last off the courts and patted each other on the back after shaking hands.
“We’re good friends off the court. I was really looking forward to this match, because he’s definitely one of my hardest opponents on the schedule this year and I knew it was going to be a really good match,” Eric Hollingsworth said.
Jordan Lake won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles and Logan Mayer won 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3 for Richmond, before Jacob Weiss and Ross Doughty won 7-5, 7-5 at No. 1 doubles.
Levi Vick and Nate Reynolds won 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles for Northeastern.
“I thought for the very first match out, you really don’t know what you’re going to get,” coach Hollingsworth said. ” … (Eric and Grant) have known each other for several years. They’ve played together up in Muncie back in middle school some, and they both have a lot of respect for each other. They’re two good players, and hopefully come sectional they get to play each other again.”
RED DEVILS 3, KNIGHTS 2
No. 1 – Grant Esposito (NE) def. Eric Hollingsworth 3-6, 6-4, 6-3; No. 2 – Jordan Lake (RHS) def. Michael McDaniel 6-1, 6-1; No. 3 – Logan Mayer (RHS) def. Alex Stiner 6-2, 6-3.
No. 1 – Jacob Weiss and Ross Doughty (RHS) def. Ryan Wogoman and Austin Kenworthy 7-5, 7-5; No. 2 – Nate Reynolds and Levi Vick (NE) def. Justin Gibbel and Daniel Jones 6-2, 6-2.