The stage is set.
Waunakee’s boys’ tennis team wrapped up a fantastic regular season – finishing their conference record undefeated – heading into the Conference Tournament.
Now they just need to finish. Last year, they were in the exact same situation, but a sub-par tournament left them in second place.
To make sure the team is ready this time around, the Warriors have scheduled tough opponents until the very end of their schedule. This week, that schedule included a dual against Watertown and a tournament at Manitowoc Lincoln.
The Warriors’ two most lopsided wins against the Goslings came at the top of their lineup. At No. 1 singles, Tyler Nelson overwhelmed his opponent en route to a 6-0, 6-0 victory. The No. 1 doubles team of Max Christian and Shane Paradisin played in a slightly closer match, but still ultimately wound up with the 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Waunakee’s No. 2 and No. 3 doubles team followed with quality wins over their opponents, as well. Ethan Liu and Caden Collins won their No. 2 doubles match 6-4, 6-4, while Grant Basler and Matthew Pulvermacher won at No. 3 doubles 6-4, 6-3.
The Warriors’ final victory of the day came at No. 2 singles, where Reed Christian won 6-4, 6-2.
While Collin Klug and Hayden Liu couldn’t pull out victories at No. 3 and No. 4 singles, they each competed well in highly competitive matches.
Klug dropped his first set 6-1, but made a comeback in the second to force a third set, ultimately falling 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
Hayden Liu’s opening set proved to be the tightest of the day; he fell 7-5. Liu stood tough in the second set, but dropped that by a score of 6-4 to complete the day’s matches.
The Warriors then headed to Manitowoc Lincoln on Saturday to compete in an eight-team tournament.
Four of Waunakee’s matches against the Hilltoppers ended via tiebreaker after two sets.
Waunakee went 3-1 in those matches, giving them the advantage needed to defeat Onalaska.
Max Christian won at No. 2 singles 6-2, 3-6, 11-9, Reed Christian won at No. 4 singles 4-6, 6-1, 10-7, and Klug and Hayden Liu won at No. 2 doubles 3-6, 6-0, 10-7.
Waunakee’s lone loss in a tiebreaker came at No. 3 doubles, where Basler and Pulvermacher lost 3-6, 7-6 (1), 10-7.
In Waunakee’s remaining matches, Nelson won at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-0, Ethan Liu and Collins earned a win at No. 1 doubles 6-3, 6-2, and Paradisin lost at No. 3 singles 6-3, 6-1.
Waunakee’s next match came against a highly-ranked Whitefish Bay team.
Whitefish Bay 6,
Waunakee’s lone victory against Whitefish Bay came at No. 1 singles, where Nelson won 6-2, 6-3.
The Warriors’ doubles teams held their own, however. Both the No. 1 doubles team of Max Christian and Paradisin and No. 2 doubles team of Ethan Liu and Collins were in extremely close matches. The No. 1 team fell 7-6 (5), 6-4, while the No. 2 team lost 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Basler and Pulvermacher forced a tiebreaker after dropping their first set 6-2, but ultimately dropped their match 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.
Waunakee’s final match of the day came against Franklin.
The Warriors started out with an advantage over Franklin, getting a forfeit at No. 4 singles.
The Warrior doubles teams carried their weight; Max Christian and Paradisin won at No. 1 doubles 6-2, 6-3, and Ethan Liu and Collins won at No. 2 doubles 6-1, 6-1. Basler and Pulvermacher went to yet another tiebreaker at No. 3 doubles, but once again fell just short, dropping their match 7-5, 3-6, 10-5.
This meant Waunakee needed just one win in singles to score a victory against Franklin. They got it at No. 3 singles, where Hayden Liu defeated his opponent 6-1, 6-1.
With the win, Waunakee finished in third place at the eight-team tournament.
Waunakee then returned home on Tuesday to compete against Oregon in their final dual before this weekend’s Badger Conference Tournament. Tuesday’s results were not available for this week’s edition.
Waunakee’s attention now turns to the Conference Tournament, where they aim to re-capture the Badger North title. Play at Nielsen Tennis Stadium begins on Friday at 9 a.m., and will continue throughout Friday and Saturday.