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Hodag Tennis advances to 2-0 in the GNC
By Hodagsports.com Staff - Posted on 04/14/2017
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The Rhinelander High School boys' team jumped out to a slow start on Thursday night, but was able to turn the tables to blank Lakeland 7-0 in a Great Northern Conference dual held in Minocqua. The Thunderbirds also were without their full lineup on the evening. 

"Lakeland may have not had a full lineup but the players they had were good," noted Coach Bob Heideman. "We were very fortunate to leave with a 7-0 victory. To win three, three-set matches after losing the first set in all of them is extremely rare."

Despite the convincing sweep over Lakeland, the Hodags were far from easy sailing in the dual. RHS had to come back to win three, three-set matches in singles, but were able to get the job done and advance to 2-0 in the conference. 

At the top singles flight, Logan Wild fell in a close 4-6 set to start. But as the match progressed Wild became more consistent and limited errors to rally back and took the second set 6-2 over Aaron Peterson. And in the tiebreaker set, Wild pulled out the 6-3 win to take the match.

"Early on Logan was plagued with errors but as the match wore on he got more and more consistent," Heideman said. "He started to hit some winners off his ground strokes and then he was hard to catch."

Markus Johnson also had to battle at No. 2 singles against Vincent Yu of Lakeland where he had to overcome another slow start for the Hodags. Johnson fell 6-2 in the first set, before going into the longest set of the evening. The Hodag junior, was able to pull out the 13-11 second set win to force the tiebreaker. With the momentum in his favor, Johnson came through to earn a 6-3 third set win and take the match.

"Markus had to do a major shift in his game after losing the first set," noted Heideman. "He went back to taking pace off the ball and his opponent did the same, which was to Markus' advantage. Yu started playing Markus' game."

And at No. 3 singles, Russell Benoy also fell in his first set 7-5 to Matt Holmes of the Thunderbirds. But Benoy would take control in the final two sets and won 6-1, 6-2.

"Russell added a shot which drew Holmes into the net and that changed things around," Heideman said. "He had a much easier time in the second and third sets."

Grant Gilbert and Jared Fabich earned a straight set win over Anthony Holmes and Zach Kane. But the first set Fabich/Gilbert had to fend off Kane/Holmes to earn the 7-5 win. And the Hodag duo would cruise to a 6-3 final set win.

At No. 2 doubles, Rhinelander's Jared Haug and Connor Young cruised to an easy 6-1, 6-1 victory over Josh Kakuschke and Alex Tucker of Lakeland. The Hodags earned forfeit wins for Marshall Bessette (No.4 singles) and Logan Oestriech and Freddy Wisner (No. 3 doubles).

Rhinelander is now 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the GNC standings. The Hodags will travel to Green Bay Southwest to compete in a two-day invitational. RHS will get back to their conference schedule on Tuesday April, 19th when they host their home opener against Phillips.
RHS Tennis blanks Medford in GNC opener
By Hodagsports.com Staff - Posted on 04/07/2017
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The Rhinelander High School boys' tennis team kicked of their Great Northern Conference season on Thursday and earned a 7-0 win over Medford on the road. Coach Bob Heideman noted in 33 years of coaching it marked the earliest opening-season match he’s played. Despite the cold and windy conditions, the Hodags' earned convincing straight set wins in all seven flights in their journey for a fourth straight GNC title.

"The play in general was ragged with a lot of shots hitting the frames of the racquets, the positive was we were able to win the close sets, which there were six of," said Heideman.

Although the Hodags swept the afternoon, it was a battle with many sets being decided by one break point or less. At the No.1 singles flight, senior Logan Wild and 2016 GNC player of the year was able to grind out a 6-4, 6-4 win over junior Alec Shear.

Junior Markus Johnson, 2016 No. 4 singles sectional champion advanced to No. 2 singles. Johnson cruised to a 6-1 first set win over junior Alec Veal. But was challenged in the second set and would rally for a 7-6 (1) second set win.

Fellow junior Logan Keso, who played No. 1 doubles with junior Grant Gilbert last season where they finished second in the GNC. This year Keso transitioned to singles and took the third flight where he defeated Medford senior Josh Brooks 6-3, 6-2.

"Logan Keso showed he could take his doubles game and adapt it to singles, with his win," Heideman said. "It was good to see Marshall Bessette back in the lineup. As a senior, he helps add experience to the #3 doubles."

Sophomore Russell Benoy in his varsity debut, earned a 6-4, 6-2 win over sophomore Charlie Branstetter at No. 4 singles. Also making his varsity debut for the Hodags was sophomore Jonus Sabani, who played doubles with senior Marshall Bessette at the No. 3 flight. Sabani and Bessette earned a convincing 6-1, 6-0 win over Robert Hu and Zach Kawa.

"Russell Benoy and Jonas Saboni picked up their first varsity wins," said Heideman. "They are both athletic and that showed. Jonas with his quickness and Russell with the power of ground strokes."

At No. 1 doubles, junior Jared Fabich bumped up from No. 2 doubles last season, and paired up with junior Grant Gilbert. The duo of Gilbert/Fabich were able to fend off Carter Ray and Jake Merrill and earn the 6-3, 7-5 win.

"Jared and Grant had a nice come back in their second set; down 2-4, to win 7-5," noted Heideman.

Defending GNC champs, sophomore Connor Young and junior Jared Haug were bumped up from No. 3 doubles to the second flight. Young and Haug were able to edge Marcus Reimann and Jon Wiegel 7-6 (1) at No. 2 doubles in the first set. And finished with a consistent 6-1 second set to earn the victory.

"We won points at the right times, that's a good sign," said Heideman. "We came out nervous and the matched showed where we need to work. We will be hitting a lot of serves over the next week."

Rhinelander is now 1-0 in the Great Northern Conference and will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Wausau West to compete in quadrangular meet. The Hodags will then get back to their GNC schedule on Tuesday when they travel to Lakeland.
Away vs. Medford Area W 7-0
Away Quad vs. Wausau West, Antigo, Pulaski 2-1
Away vs. LakelandW 7-0
Away Invite @ Green Bay Southwest1-2
Away Invite @ Green Bay Southwestrained out
Away vs. Antigo
Away vs. Stevens Point, La Crosse Logan, Marshfield, Pacelli, Regis, Tomah, Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln
Medford Area
Sectionals Away vs.
Away vs. Phillips
Away vs. Wausau West, Bay Port, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Marshfield, Pulaski, Wausau East
Away vs. Wausau West, Bay Port, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Marshfield, Pulaski, Wausau East
Conference Meet
Hodag Invite
Sub-Sectionals @ RHS
GNC Standings
Rhinelander28 pts-
Medford18 pts-
Lakeland10 pts-
Antigo0 pts-
Phillips0 pts-
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