MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon tennis coach Jeff Jarosz has watched his young team grow by leaps and bounds this spring. On Monday, those young men took another huge step.
The No. 2 doubles duo of Mike Johnson and Graham Hughes battled for three long sets before prevailing in a tiebreaker to lead the Jackets to a 3-2 victory over Lancaster at the Memorial Park courts.
Johnson and Hughes won the first set 6-3, but then fell 6-4 in the second.
“I think in the first set we were where we needed to be. We were making them switch everything,” said Hughes.
The third and deciding set came down to a tiebreaker before the Mount Vernon duo prevailed 7-4.
“We just kept going. We needed to keep getting the ball over the net,” said Johnson. “We just never gave up, never backed down.”
The victory was just the second all year for the second doubles team, and the first time they’ve been to three sets in a match.
“These kids are improving, improving, improving,” said Jarosz. “They’ve got the fire in their bellies now. They’ve worked hard and now can see what they’re capable of doing.”
The victory helped the Jackets (6-6) avenge an earlier 4-1 loss to the Gales.
The Jackets’ other points came at first and third singles. Max Whitney dumped John Lucas in short order 6-1, 6-1 at third singles.
“Max did a great job today,” Jarosz said. “I’ve asked him to be more aggressive. He had some perfect cross-court shots on the forehand side. He took a deep angle, and made the guy move a lot. That’s what made him successful.”
John Fleming also battled for a tough victory at first singles. He beat Jordan Hennessy 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
At second singles, Mount Vernon’s Alex Shillito fell 6-3, 6-2 to Nick Stump; and at first doubles, MV’s Corey Street and Will Teator fell 6-0, 6-2 to Collin Stump and Brennan Gilbert.
“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win two matches. Six way exceeds my expectations,” said Jarosz. “The freshmen really have stepped up. Coming into the season, they were like deer in headlights.
“Graham and Will have grown as much as anyone can in a year. They’ve learned so much and continue to learn.”
The Jackets travel to New Albany on Wednesday and Marion Harding on Thursday before the Ohio Capital Conference tournament gets started Saturday at Olentangy Orange.