By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
SIDNEY — The Lehman Catholic boys tennis “re-start” has gone better than coach Tim Ungericht could have hoped for.
The Cavaliers returned just two players with varsity experience in senior Max Schmiesing and junior Sam Gilardi after missing last spring because of Covid.
“It really was like starting over,” Ungericht said. “We have a lot of kids that have never played before.”
Despite that, after an opening loss to Chaminade-Julienne, the Cavaliers have rolled up four straight wins.
“That loss to Chaminade-Julienne was the best thing that could have happened,” Ungericht said. “Because, we came back in the second sets of those match. And Chaminade is a really good team.”
The success continued Wednesday in a 3-2 win over Elida as Ungericht picked up his 50th career win.
Lehman swept the singles matches.
Gilardi continued to shine at first singles, winning Aiden Bartels of Elida 6-1, 6-2.
His only losses have been to C-J and Kenton Ridge.
“I told Sam, every team has at least one good player,” Ungericht said. “That Kenton Ridge kid will be the top guy in our sectional. And even though Sam lost, the match lasted an hour and a half.”
With Chris Evans on spring break, it is forced Lehman to adjust its lineup.
Joe Pannapara has moved up to second singles and Brandon Bostick has moved from second doubles to third singles.
They have both gone 2-0 this week.
Pannapara defeated Vishi Patel 6-0, 6-0 Wednesday and Bostick defeated Zac Schmunk 6-0, 6-1.
“Of course, we miss Chris (Evans) and we will have him back next week,” Ungericht said. “It is Joe’s (Pannapara) second straight 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles. It weakens second doubles moving Brandon (Bostick) to singles, but he has done a great job.”
The first doubles teams of Schmiesing and Brandon Jones is off to a good start as well.
They had won three matches in a row before losing 6-1, 6-2 to Eric Butler and Dawson Kindell.
“They have done a great job,” Ungericht said. “They are doing a really good job of being aggressive out there. They kind of got away from that tonight.”
At second doubles, Thomas White and Logan Lindson lost 7-5, 6-2 to Jonas Mitchell and Dylan Byers.
“That is their closest match yet,” Ungericht said. “They battled out there.”
Ungericht looks forward to the challenge this weekend at the Schroeder Invitational.
Play will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“It will be some tough competition,” he said. “Tipp (Tippecanoe), Troy and Beavercreek are the top three teams there. I would be thrilled with a fourth-place finish and I think we can do that.”
After a successful “re-start” in the early going.