After losing its first match of the season earlier this week, the Lake Havasu boys tennis team bounced back on Thursday with a 6-3 victory over Lee Williams at home.
It’s a much-needed victory for the Knights, who slipped to No. 12 and moved down again to 15 in the Division II rankings after a 5-4 road loss to Estrella Foothills on Tuesday. Havasu was the 7th ranked team prior to Tuesday’s match.
“If we would’ve lost this one, state was going to look very, very far off,” Havasu coach Jeremy Wojcicki said. “It kept us alive in the section, kept us alive for states, it just showed that the boys could rebound and they could win against good teams.”
The Knights had losses in the top two spots for the second consecutive match, but the No. 4-6 players gave their team a 3-2 lead while the No. 3 players were locked in a battle.
Havasu’s Gavin Lintz and Lee Williams’ Evan Taylor were in a tiebreaker that almost ended with the latter making a late comeback.
Lintz led 9-6 in the tiebreaker and needed one more point for the victory. Taylor rallied back to tie the score at nine. With added pressure from both teams and parents watching over them, Lintz came up clutch, earned the two points to clinch the victory and gave his team a 4-2 lead to end singles.
“It was definitely nerve wracking, but I knew I had to win it,” Lintz said. “I had to prove it for myself and my teammates that I’m at No. 3 for a reason.”
The final result was a 7-5, 4-6 (11-9) win for Lintz and it was a rebounding performance for the senior, who lost 6-0, 4-6 (10-6) at No. 4 in Tuesday’s loss. Lintz’s defeat clinched the victory for the Estrella Foothills Wolves.
“I kind of lost it for the team in Estrella and my match would’ve put us over,” Lintz said. “Today, when I got into that tiebreaker, I was like ‘I was to win this for my team’ and so I just dug deep and I pulled it out.”
Other Knights who were victorious Thursday were Mason Sain (No. 4), Troy Anderson (No. 5) and Will Buckman (No. 6). Sain won 6-2, 6-1, Anderson earned a 6-2, 6-2 win and Buckman clinched a 6-2, 7-6 victory.
Havasu No. 1 Christian Sain lost his second straight match and third overall of the season after falling 6-2, 6-2 to Lee Williams’ top player Logan Rosenbach. Trent Dreisbach lost 6-4, 6-3 to Kohen Juelfs of the Volunteers in the No. 2 match.
Christian Sain said he improved from his 6-0, 6-1 loss on Tuesday, a match he considered as “bad.”
“I was hitting with way better placement, keeping it back on the baseline,” Christian Sain said. “I was moving in more putting away volleys. It was really good today, just still missing those key shots.”
In doubles, Dreisbach and Hayden Bekkedahl – Havasu’s top pair – lost consecutive matches for the first time this season after falling 8-0 to Juelfs and Rosenbach. It’s the third overall lost for the Knights’ top duo.
Havasu clinched the hard-fought victory with a pair of 8-2 wins in the No. 2 and 3 doubles matches. Brothers Christian and Mason Sain won at No. 2 while Lintz and Anderson earned their victory at No. 3.
The win over the previously undefeated Volunteers (5-1) likely moves up the Knights in the Division II rankings. Lee Williams was ranked 12th in D-II prior to Thursday’s match. Rankings will be updated Friday at 10 a.m. on the Arizona Preps 365 app and later at noon on its website.
The victory improves the Knights’ record to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Section III.
Havasu hosts Seton Catholic Prep (0-6) on Monday in a match that will run concurrently with the girls match against the same school. Both boys and girls matches are expected to start at 1 p.m.