MORGANTOWN — In a season that has been hindered due to the lovely “spring” weather outside, the Mohawk Bowl hit the tennis courts indoors on Saturday at Summit Tennis Academy on Bakers Ridge.
Four singles matches and three double matches were on the slate Saturday night between the Hawks and Mohigans, highlighted by the no. 1 singles matchup that saw MHS junior Max Phillips squaring off against UHS freshman Andrew McClellan.
With it being McClellan’s first year on the team and the season being short so far, Phillips holds an advantage in experience. However, the UHS freshman came out strong to open the match and found himself with an early advantage through three games at a score of 2-1.
“I went into the match after taking a little time off dealing with some tendonitis, but before that had some really good matches against some really great players,” Phillips said. “I tried to come in and play at a really high pace and I wasn’t able to keep it there and play at the pace at first.”
McClellan controlled the tempo early, allowing each point to go as long as it needed to as he safely returned Phillips shots.
“I think when I got up 2-1 I got a little excited because I’m not usually ahead in these matches,” McClellan said of his thought process after gaining an early advantage. “I tried to slow myself back down after that but he was able to pull through.”
After dropping the first two games, Phillips settled in and began to work to the strengths of his game. The first being his power, both on the serve and on returns. Phillips earned multiple aces by way of simply hitting the ball so hard that McClellan struggled to return it at times.
In no time, Phillips had won six straight games to take a 7-2 lead over his UHS rival and friend and would be on-serve looking to close out the match. McClellan had different plans and rallied once again to take the next two games to bring himself within three games of Phillips, 7-4.
“I played more strategic when he got those six straight games on me and it allowed me to come back a little bit,” McClellan said. “I think he may have gotten a little comfortable and it helped me get some points and let the game come to me.”
“Playing these types of matches is really important going forward for sure,” Phillips said. “We will see each other again on Tuesday so I’m sure it’ll be another tough match.”
Phillips would take the match by a final score of 8-4, as he kicked off the first win of a clean sweep for the Mohigan boys’ tennis team. MHS would take the match 7-0 over UHS.
The two teams will meet again on Tuesday afternoon and will include the girls’ teams as well.
Full results are posted below (winners in bold lettering):
#1 Max Phillips-Hartley (8) / Andrew McClellan( 4 )
#2 Bennett Hall ( 8 ) / Salah Abunnaja (1 )
#3 Adien Aggarwal ( 8 ) / Andrew Lerfald ( 3)
#4 Wyatt Abbitt( 8) / Julian Stealey( 2)
#1 Max Phillips-Hartley / Bennett Hall ( 8) / Andrew McClellan / Andrew Lerfald (0)
#2 Adien Aggarwal / Dake LaSala ( 8) / Salah Abunnaja / Julian Stealey (3)
#3 Wyatt Abbitt / Steven Tian ( 8 ) / Andrew Rosanna / Owen Minchau (3)
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