SL-O boys test Bulldogs at home

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Spirit Lake-Okoboji's Liam Hamilton-Smith earned a 10-4 singles win in his team's home loss to Le Mars on Tuesday, May 2.

Spirit Lake-Okoboji gave Le Mars its greatest test of the Lakes Conference boys tennis season Tuesday, May 2 at Speier Park, but the hosts fell short of an upset, losing 6-3 to the Bulldogs.

Spirit Lake-Okoboji's Nick Cornwall returns a serve in his team's 6-3 loss to the Bulldogs.

"This was the tightest meet score-wise Le Mars has had all season, and we certainly could have come out on top," SL-O coach Dan Taylor said. "We just needed to win a couple of those three close losses at No. 2 singles, No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles. But I am extremely proud of how our guys played their hearts out in this one, and they can take away a lot of good things going into the conference tournament and our three remaining dual meets."

SL-O picked up three key wins in singles action, as Karson Rodriguez, JP Walz and Liam Hamilton-Smith won to send their team into doubles tied 3-3.

Spirit Lake-Okoboji's Kyler Olsen sends a backhand return across the net Tuesday afternoon at Speier Park.

Taylor said an injury to one of the Bulldogs' top singles players played a large role in the close match.

"One of the biggest factors that contributed to this meet being so close was the absence of LeMars' No. 3 player from the lineup due to injury," he said. "We were really able to take advantage of their guys needing to move up a spot in the singles lineup, as we got wins at 4-6. We were also very close in the No. 2 and 3 matches, so in singles we had nothing but positives really coming out of it."

In doubles, though, Le Mars was just too much, as the Bulldogs earned three wins to pull ahead to the 6-3 victory.

"We were 3-3 going into doubles against the top team in the conference, so everything was essentially going the way we had hoped it would," Taylor said. "Le Mars had an awfully strong team at No. 2 doubles, so I knew our best chance to win the meet was to win at No. 1 and No. 3. No. 1 was very close, as we lost 9-11, and the Le Mars No. 3 team really played a great match. I don't think we played poorly in doubles - Le Mars just took their level up a bit after singles, and it was just too much for us to overcome."

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