Raindrops on roses and petals on posies. Great performances by a newly formed doubles team. These are a few of Lawrence High tennis coach Dick Wedel's favorite things.
"It's not really a surprise, because I feel they have potential. But they haven't played together very much," Wedel said in reference to Aaron Landry and Anthony Gaspar, his top doubles team at Thursday's Lawrence Invitational tennis tournament.
Landry and Gaspar, playing together for only the second time, advanced to the doubles final before losing to Shawnee Mission East's Chris Prier and Kevin Sprott, 6-2, 7-5.
"WE PLAYED more aggressively today, and that's why we won the first two games. Now we need to work to get better, especially on returning serves," Landry said.
The Lions finished fifth in the eight-team field, trailing tournament winner SM East by 11 team points. But the play of Landry and Gaspar, as well as that of Ryan Friesen in the singles bracket, encouraged Wedel.
Friesen finished third in the top singles bracket, losing in the semifinal to eventual champion Adam Coldsnow of SM East. Friesen beat Leavenworth's Jesse Sherer in the the third place final in a match that Wedel said pitted two different styles of play.
"Jesse is a good player who likes to come up and play at the net. Ryan likes to play more along the baseline, and it's nice for him to beat someone with a different style," Wedel said. "Ryan has been finding his game lately, and I'm really pleased."
THE LAWRENCE Invitational was the first opportunity Wedel and the Lions have had to gauge the Sunflower League opposition, and he feels Lawrence has the talent to compete within the league.
"We're not going to come out and dominate anyone, but most teams aren't going to be able to come out and blow us off the court, either," Wedel said.