After a long winter, the Waunakee boys’ tennis team has finally returned to the court.

The Warriors started their season at home with a Badger Conference crossover match against Monona Grove on Tuesday.

Monona Grove 5,

Waunakee 2

Battling at No. 1 singles were a pair of freshmen: Tyler Nelson for Waunakee and Chase Lindwall for Monona Grove. Nelson made quick work of the Silver Eagles’ Lindwall, defeating him 6-0, 6-1.

“Rumor had it Chase beat Tyler last time they played,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Chris Nuenthel. “Seeing – in-person – Tyler beat Chase 6-0, 6-1 was impressive to me, especially how Tyler was working and setting up points.”

Outside of Nelson’s win, the only other Warrior victory came at No. 2 doubles, where Ethan Liu and Caden Collins teamed up to beat their opponents 6-3, 6-4.

The match of the night came at No. 2 singles, where Waunakee’s Reed Christian and Monona Grove’s Lance Nelson battled deep into the third set.

“Lance had a great first set,” said Nuenthel. “Reed had a great comeback in the second set, and the third set was a combination of both.”

Nelson won set one 6-3, and Christian took set two by the same score. Early in the third, Nelson jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Christian went on a run to take a 6-5 lead late. The two kept battling late, but some quality shots by Nelson ultimately decided the match.

“Lance came up with a shot that all we could do was clap,” Nuenthel said. “It was that good under pressure.”

Over the weekend, Waunakee played in a tournament in Waukesha, where they played four matches.

Waunakee 5,

Stoughton 2

The doubles side of Waunakee’s lineup earned a sweep against Stoughton, carrying the Warriors to their first victory of the year.

At No. 1 doubles, Max Christian and Shane Paradisin won 6-0, 6-3 over their opponents, and this turned out to be the closest doubles contest of the match. Liu and Collins won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles, and Grant Basler and Matthew Pulvermacher defeated their opponents 6-1, 6-0.

On the singles side, Nelson and Hayden Liu got wins at No. 1 and No. 4 singles, respectively. Nelson won 6-0, 6-0, while Liu took his match 6-1, 6-1.

The closest match came at No. 3 singles, where Collin Klug and his opponent went three sets. Klug took the first set 6-3, but his opponent took close second and third sets to score a victory.

Waunakee 4,

Greendale 3

Against Stoughton, the doubles teams earned the majority of the victories. Against Greendale, it was the singles’ side of the team that picked up the slack.

Three of Waunakee’s four wins came at singles. Nelson earned another sweep at No. 1 singles, winning 6-0, 6-0. Reed Christian and Hayden Liu also earned wins at No. 2 and No. 4 singles. Liu came back from a 6-1 first-set loss; he took the second set 6-1 and endured a long tiebreaker in the third set, ultimately pulling out the win 11-9.

At No. 1 doubles, Max Christian and Paradisin won 6-4, 6-0. Basler and Pulvermacher took their first set 7-5, but couldn’t pull out the victory, falling 5-7, 7-5, 10-7.

Sun Prairie 4,

Waunakee 3

Sun Prairie’s Aidan Schutter – a state competitor last year – provided some of the stiffest competition so far early in the season for Nelson. After winning his first set 6-3, Nelson dropped the second set 6-1. Ultimately, Nelson pulled out the win 6-3, 1-6, 10-7 to stay unbeaten on the season.

Waunakee also earned wins at No. 1 doubles – where Max Christian and Paradisin earned a 6-3, 7-5 victory – and No. 2 doubles. Ethan Liu and Collins beat their opponents 6-4, 3-6, 10-8;

Basler and Pulvermacher had another close contest at No. 3 doubles, but couldn’t quite pull out the victory, falling 3-6, 6-2, 10-8.

Muskego 4,

Waunakee 3

Against Muskego, the same three earned victories for the Warriors: Nelson at No. 1 singles (6-1, 6-1), Max Christian and Paradisin at No. 1 doubles (7-5, 6-2) and Ethan Liu and Collins at No. 2 doubles (6-3, 5-7, 10-6).

Collin Klug nearly pulled off a comeback win at No. 3 singles; he lost the first set 6-1, but stormed back to take the second 6-2. A close tiebreaker wound up going against Klug 11-9, giving Muskego the close team victory.

“We were two points from beating Sun Prairie as a team, and two points from beating Muskego as a team, so we were less than a handful of points from going undefeated this weekend with this young team,” said Nuenthel. “I was very impressed with our fight.”

The Warriors returned home on Tuesday for their first conference match of the season against Reedsburg, the results of which were not available for this week’s edition. Waunakee plays at Sauk Prairie on Thursday, followed by invitationals on Friday and Saturday.

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