Fremont Ross’ Robert Joerg, like many other athletes Tuesday, was at the mercy of the ferocious winds that made way through Sandusky County.
Instead of playing the typical forehand, backhand or drop shot, some of the best shots for Joerg and the Little Giants, Tuesday’s non-league home match against St. Joseph Central Catholic resembled those more along the likes of the ones you’d see in golf. The fade (a left to right shot), in particular, proved highly effective in the easterly winds.
Joerg bested SJCC’s Hunter Harrison 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles as Ross swept the Crimson Streaks 5-0.
“There’s not much you can go for in these conditions, except try to force your opponent into making an error,” Joerg said. “Shots that normally kissed the line were going five feet out.”
Joerg was an honorable mention all-Three Rivers Athletic Conference selection for the Little Giants in 2013. He’s part of a trio of juniors that return after filling significant roles in the lineup as sophomores.
Another of those is Nate Rellinger, who played doubles a year ago and will switch between No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles throughout the spring. Rellinger and Marshall Kuieck were 6-1, 6-1 winners at No. 1 doubles Tuesday, topping the SJCC duo of Nick McNair and Jacob Hahn.
Ross’ Dylan Henry and Carl Spears bested the Streaks’ Ben Selvey and Mathias Michelsen 6-4, 6-2 at second doubles.
“We took some lumps last year, but we’re real strong and probably a little deeper than last year’s group,” said Rellinger, who went 21-9 at second doubles in 2013. “We’re hoping to take a lot of those losses in 3-2 matches last spring and flip those around this time around.”
Perfect attendance at practices determined the Little Giant’s lineup against SJCC.
Sophomore Henry Nguyen competed in his first varsity match for Ross where he bested Patrick Coul 6-0, 6-1 at third singles.
“It felt great,” Nguyen said. “I was really excited to get the chance to play.”
The most competitive match of took place at second singles where Ross’ Connor Martin beat SJCC’s Aaron Burns 2-6, 6-1, 7-5. Martin is the other junior back after playing with Rellinger at No. 2 doubles.
“We’re building and building right now,” Joerg said. “We’re trying to develop the younger guys and get them ready for these varsity matches.”
New to coach Lisa Wolfe’s staff this year is former Oak Harbor and Ross tennis coach Rick LaFountain.
“He’s a bit more laid back, which helps cool the tensions sometimes,” Joerg said.
Ross will host Clyde today at 4:30 p.m. The Crimson Streaks will next play Thursday at Oak Harbor (4:30 p.m. start).