Boys Tennis: Bexley Lions seeing results from spirited practices

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Sophomore Stefan Schiff has been a key contributor for Bexley, which was 9-3 overall and 4-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division entering action April 22. The Lions credit their success to intense practices.

Intense practices helped the Bexley boys tennis team notch seven consecutive victories against some of the state’s elite teams.

The Lions, who were 9-3 overall and 4-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Grandview on April 22, defeated two top Division II programs over a span of four days during that stretch.

They beat second-ranked Columbus Academy 3-2 on April 13 in a league matchup and No. 8 Lexington 4-1 on April 17.

“I think one of the biggest reasons we’re off to such a great start is how competitive our practices are,” said first-year coach Will Gingery, whose team was first in the Central District poll from April 21 with Academy at No. 2. “We also lost three of our first four matches to tough Division I teams in (second-ranked) Upper Arlington (3-2 on March 31), Olentangy (5-0 on April 5) and New Albany (5-0 on April 7). I told our boys that we needed to take those losses as learning experiences because those matches prepared us to play against teams like Academy, which is in (Division) II with us.”

Against Academy, the Lions got wins from senior Will Meyer (second singles) and sophomore Austin Flamm (third singles) as well as junior Duncan Johnson and sophomore Drew Solar at second doubles.

“Will Meyer is the heart and soul of our team and all of our guys feed off of him,” Gingery said. “He played the match of his life at Academy and pulled a huge upset over (the Vikings’) Arie Tuckerman.

“He’s been a great leader and he’s been motivating and helping to guide our young five sophomores in the starting lineup. It’s been fun to watch.”

Meyer said the Lions have been successful thanks to their hard work in the offseason and during practices.

“I think this team put in a lot of work over the winter and during the year we had off, (missing last season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic),” Meyer said. “I think we’re working together well. We don’t get a lot of practices but the ones we get, we’re making it work to our benefit. I think during practices, instead of messing around, we’re applying pressure situations and working on the things to make it better.”

Against Lexington, sophomore Stefan Schiff (first singles), Meyer (second singles) and Flamm (third singles) won along with sophomore Mitchell Giller and Solar at second doubles.

“The work and the connection we have as a team has been great,” Schiff said. “Coach Gingery really helps us get in the zone and have that focus. He really focuses on preparing. You have to practice like you play. When we all put it together, everything clicks.”

After facing Grandview, the Lions will close out MSL-Ohio competition April 29 against Wellington. The Jaguars were third in the Central District poll and ranked fourth in the state last week.

“We have very high intensity in practice,” said sophomore Blake Simons, who plays first doubles. “We only get something like 15 practices a season and they only are like an hour and a half or two hours. We have to make the most of every one. If we didn’t practice at a super-high intensity then we’d be wasting half of the practice and every minute counts.”

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen