Niles’ dynamic duo
Published 9:56 am Thursday, October 1, 2015
There was no doubt about the outcome of the non-conference tennis match between host Niles and Dowagiac Tuesday.
The Chieftains entered the match down 0-2 as they have to forfeit at No. 4 singles and No. 4 doubles.
But that did not mean that the Vikings’ No. 1 doubles team of Matt Lee and Derek Brown was going to take the day off.
Lee and Brown rarely take it easy on anyone or have a letdown.
As a result, they were 18-3 heading into Wednesday’s non-conference contest against Edwardsburg in their final tune up before Saturday’s SMAC Tournament.
Lee and Brown defeated Dowagiac’s top players David Brogan and Mitch Warsko 6-1 and 7-5 to lead Niles to a 6-2 victory over the Chieftains.
“Their chemistry together is excellent,” Niles coach Jill Weber said. “They are aggressive and have two different styles, which mixes well together.
“Matt reads the ball really well and places his shot really well. Derek is kind of the powerhouse and puts the ball away well. That makes them a really good combo.”
Lee and Brown were All-SMAC Conference last year and captured first place at the Battle Creek tournament earlier this year.
Brown is a captain for the Vikings this season, and both players have shown great leadership, according to Weber.
This is the third year Lee and Brown have been together. They really came into their own last season.
“I don’t really show a lot of emotion out there other than when we get a really good streak going,”Lee said.
“He keeps me calmed down,” Brown said.
And what about their games?
“I am definitely more set-up,” Lee said.
“I take a lot of the balls at the net,” Brown added.
Lee and Brown are looking foward to the postseason. Both know their road to success at the conference and regional tournament is going to be filled with tests.
“We definitely want to win the SMAC, but it is going to be tough,” Lee said. “After that regionals.”
“Our goal for this year is all-state,” Brown said. “We at least want to go out playing well.”
The Niles tennis team stepped out of conference Tuesday for a match against short-handed Dowagiac.
The Vikings rolled to a 6-2 win over the Chieftains, who were coming off their first victory of the season against Coloma Monday.
Dowagiac and Niles split singles flights with the Vikings picking up a 6-1 and 6-1 win by Jacob Ruelle over Zach Davis and a default victory at No. 4 singles.
The Chieftains’ two wins came at No. 2 and No. 3 singles.
Ethan Wagner defeated Riley Delinski 2-6, 6-1 and 6-2, while Colin Rafferty defeated Blake Saratore 7-5 and 6-2.