There wasn’t a win to be found for Lawrence High’s boys tennis team in a frustrating Wednesday afternoon home dual against Olathe South.
Even a six-game lead in the No. 1 doubles match turned into a Lions loss as O-South swept, 10-0.
LHS seniors Matt Grom and Pace Leggins had built a 7-1 advantage against Tyler Green and Brandon Edwards before the Falcons won the next seven games and the tie-breaker, pulling off a remarkable 8-7 (7-1) comeback win.
Leggins said LHS errors led to O-South points.
“We tried to keep fighting,” he said.
Grom called the setback a buzzkill, and it soured the afternoon.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world,” Grom said, “just to be that close and lose it all.”
The marathon doubles match, Lawrence coach Chris Marshall said, began with the best seven games he had seen out of an LHS doubles team all year before the match took a turn for the worse.
“As we got more into the match, and they (Grom and Leggins) were getting closer to winning the match, they played a little tentative,” Marshall said. “They knew what to do, but instead of jumping and taking the opportunity, they were late on the ball, and sometimes that ball ate them up, and they were just missing some shots by slim margins.”
The No. 1 doubles match proved to be Lawrence’s best shot at a victory. The closest margin in any other match was 8-3 — in No. 2 singles, Grom fell to Brad Garcia, and in No. 6 singles, Tim Thongone lost to Edwards.
Grom said playing singles immediately after the doubles loss was difficult.
“You’re kind of still thinking about the last match, You’re frustrated,” Grom said. “Then you’ve got to come out and hit your shots all over again.”
“It’s hard to come back mentally from that,” Leggins said after falling, 8-2, to Young Liu in No. 3 singles. “It drained a lot out of me.”
Getting in a mental rut, Marshall said, was a theme throughout the dual for the Lions. The coach said numerous players would play the correct shot, miss and let one blown chance create negative momentum.
“You can’t change the past. The past has already happened,” Marshall said. “You’ve gotta look forward, forget what happened on the last point and focus on the next one.”
At 9 a.m. Saturday, the Lions will play at the Washburn Rural Invite.