Otto juggles line-up, Knights slip past Hawks 3-2

After West Holmes topped Hiland in a tie-breaker at the Hiland Tennis Invitational a week earlier after the two teams for second place, everyone expected the head-to-head match between the two teams at West Holmes Wednesday, April 13 to be every bit as exciting.

The two Holmes County teams did not disappoint, but it would be West Holmes taking advantage of the doubles action, that would come away with a 3-2 victory.

Knights coach Jason Otto did a little juggling of his line-up to make sure it afforded his team the best chance at victory, and it paid off with the pair of doubles wins.

“This line-up was the best way I felt we could get a win,” said Otto. “I think if we play the way I had our line-up earlier this season, we could lose 4-1.”

At first singles, West Holmes senior and two-time state-qualifier Ethan Meyer fought off a tough challenge from Hiland senior Charlie Schlabach, Meyer eventually earning a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

“Charlie is a tough, consistent competitor,” said Otto of the Hiland senior. “But Ethan can play, and he is trying some new things tonight that he hopes will improve his game. He is adding a new kick serve to his game, that has a lot more spin on it.”

That could make Meyer especially tough, considering he has a very hard first serve that he consistently puts in play.

Hiland’s Logan Weaver quickly disposed of Jason Abraham 6-3, 6-0 at second singles, while Grant Gingerich topped West Holmes’ Megan Morrison 6-0, 6-1 at third singles.

But it was in doubles lay where West Holmes made its move.

Eric Biltz and Madison Cox teamed up at first singles to knock off Hiland’s Joey Miller and Timothy Schlabach in an entertaining 6-3, 6-3 match, while at second doubles, Knights’ John Hipp and Nathan Hartley took care of Patrick Miller and Jadon Hostetler 6-1, 6-2.

As for the Hawks, Yoder said that the line-up could still continue to see some tweaking as the season progresses.

“Changes are still very possible,” said Yoder. “But we are going to have to settle our line-up soon, because sectional line-ups are due at the end of the month. There is still time to figure out what works the best for us, and find the combinations that work.”

Yoder has been quite impressed with the quality of play he has gotten from his first through third singles players. He noted that Weaver has been improving rapidly at second singles.

Otto said he too is continuing to tinker with the line-up, a line-up that features plenty of youthful inexperience.

“I think this is our third different line-up in four matches,” said Otto. “

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