Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Howard wins two matches at state

Tyler Howard, Baldwin-Woodville's best tennis player ever, won his first two matches at the WIAA Division 2 state tournament before falling to the defending state champion and then losing in a consolation match to the number three seed in the tournament.

"Tyler had a very good tournament," said B-W Coach Jim Rumpel. "He definitely had some tough draws along the way and still did everything we asked of him."

B-W's top doubles team of Nathan Zacharias and Ed Rumpel also "did very well against a very good team," said Coach Rumpel. Playing their first match against the team that went on to lose to the team that went on to finish third in the doubles tournament, they lost 6-2, 6-3.

Coach Rumpel said in his opinion, Howard played "one of the two toughest players he could have drawn" out of the 20 possibilities in first round competition, Matthew Bellio, a sophomore of Saint Mary's Springs with an 18-3 record, and won 6-3, 7-5. In the second round he beat the player who beat the Altoona foreign exchange student whom Howard had beaten twice during the year. By beating the Altoona player, Jimmy Leschke, a senior of Oshkosh Lourdes with a 14-7 record, "obviously was a good player," said Coach Rumpel, and Howard beat him 6-3, 6-0 and "played very solid tennis.

In the third round Howard faced the defending state champion Michael Koval of Notre Dame, with a 26-1 record, who until the final round didn't lose a game at the tournament. "Sometimes people who don't understand the game will look at a score of 6-0, 6-0 and think there's a huge difference, but it's not always a huge difference," said Coach Rumpel. "Sometimes a shot here or a shot there makes the difference."

In the consolation bracket for fifth place, "probably the biggest thing affecting Tyler was the number three seed upset" so Tyler had to play him in the first round of the consolation. "So by the luck of the draw, his consolation match was against the toughest kid he could have faced and in a tough match in which he kept fighting back, he lost 6-4, 7-6.

"Just to show how tough that player was, he went on to win fifth place match and had a much easier time than he did against Tyler," said Coach Rumpel.