By John Bombatch
ENON — Tennis is tough enough to learn when you’re just getting used to swinging a racket on a nice day. The inexperienced Fairborn Skyhawks had just as tough of a time in dealing with 20-plus mph winds and intermittent rain as they did the host Greenon Knights on Wednesday.
With the exception of a three-set affair at first doubles, Greenon won the other four matches in straight sets as part of a 5-0 win over Fairborn on the Knights’ courts.
As the three Greenon tennis courts are situated, a storm coming out of the southwest had the tennis balls doing all sorts of interesting slices and drops in the wind. As players served from the south end of the courts, they had the advantage of a strong tailwind, but it would occasionally become a westerly crosswind and blow shots off to the right.
From the north side of the courts, players would often swing at the ball with home run ferocity into a strong headwind, only to see the ball barely clear the net, or slice sharply to the left.
“The weather just adds more elements that younger players have to worry about,” first-year Fairborn head coach Doug Coy said. “They’re not just out there working on where they should be standing and how they should be swinging, all those things that new players have to think about, but now you throw in the wind, the rain and the cold and it’s a whole new set of things to deal with.”
Coy said he had one rookie player show up wearing shorts and a short-sleeved team polo shirt when his Skyhawks opened regular season play in Huber Heights on a very frigid mid-30s Monday.
“We’re learning to adapt, and most of all, the kids are enjoying the game. That’s most important,” Coy said.
On Wednesday, Greenon singles players Owen Leahdey, Brady Whitaker and Ryan McNell claimed respective straight-set wins over Fairborn’s Robert Floyd, Tyler Fillback and Alex Cao.
In doubles, the Knights’ Mike Dearing-Riley Farrell combo needed three sets to upend Fairborn’s Austin Lewis and Johnny Ngo, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. At second doubles, Collin Campbell and Cole McNell won over Fillback and Caleb Arthur.
Coy was without his top singles player — Nhat Mai, who is 2-0 in the early going.
“Nhat Mai moved up from playing second singles last season to being our first singles player this season,” Coy explained. “Nhat is having a terrific year, but he was sick today and so he couldn’t play. The rest of our team is new to varsity tennis this season, so they’re still figuring things out.”
Greenon has now won two straight matches. They are now 3-2 on the season and will play a 4:30 p.m. match today at Springfield Northwestern.
“We’re very young, too,” Greenon coach Austin Fitch said. “We just need some time to work with them and help teach them the game. It just takes time. That, and better weather.”
Fairborn’s three-match road trip to start the season is over. The Skyhawks can look forward to playing four straight high school varsity tennis matches on their brand spanking new Community Park tennis courts. Fairborn is set to play its first home match of the season at 4 p.m. today against Beavercreek. Coy said longtime Fairborn tennis coach Terry Miller may be on hand as part of the court christening ceremony before today’s contest.
Fairborn then will host Yellow Springs on Friday, Miamisburg on Tuesday and Trotwood-Madison on Wednesday, April 13 on the Community Park courts.
Greenon 5, Fairborn 0
SINGLES — 1. Owen Leahdey def. Robert Floyd 6-2, 6-3; 2. Brady Whitaker def. Tyler Fillback 6-2, 6-2; 3. Ryan McNell def. Alex Cao 6-1, 6-2.
DOUBLES — 1. Mike Dearing-Riley Farrell def. Austin Lewis-Johnny Ngo 2-6, 6-1, 6-4’ 2. Collin Campbell-Cole NcNell def. Tyler Fillback-Caleb Arthur (no score listed).
Records — Greenon (3-2); Fairborn (0-3).
John Bombatch can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.