By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — Lehman Catholic tennis coach TIm Ungericht knew his second season as Lehman boys tennis coach was going to be different than the first.
And now his players understand that as well.
“I did (know the Cavaliers were going to turn things around),” Ungericht said. “I am not sure the players believed me. But, I think when we went up and beat Wapakoneta the second match of the season, they understood they could be pretty good.”
Lehman was 8-3 before dropping two straight matches to tough teams by 4-1 scores.
After losing to Alter Tuesday, 14-2 Milton-Union beat the Cavaliers on Wednesday.
In singles, Griffin West lost to Phillip Brumbaugh 6-1, 6-1; Sam Ritze lost to Nathan Brumbaugh 6-1, 6-3; and Ryan Goettemoeller defeated Nick Brumbaugh 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.
In doubles, Michael Wesner and Danny Lins lost to Caleb Black and Shawn Rudy 6-0, 6-1; and Sean Toner and Elias Bezy lost to Adam Knepper and Peyton Brown 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-2).
“Against Alter, that was a real good win for Griffin (West) and if a couple matches had gone just a little differently, it would have been a different outcome,” Ungericht said. “Milton-Union is a real good team and that was a good win for Ryan (Goettemoeller). I would rather play teams like this than teams we know we are going to beat 5-0.”
Ungericht says there have been a couple keys.
“Obviously, Griffin (West) has worked really hard on his game and come a long way,” Ungericht said. “Sam (Ritze) didn’t play a lot, but worked really hard on his conditioning every day. Ryan (Goettemoeller) went to some skills camps and that has helped him.
“We have had some kids step up at doubles. We worked really hard on our conditioning and I think that helped.”
And Ungericht said it is a natural progression.
“Two years ago, we lost five seniors (four of who qualified for district),” Ungericht said. “We knew last year was going to be a building season and it was. We were really young.”
And you can make an argument the Cavaliers still are.
“We have everyone back next year,” Ungericht said. “We finished fourth at the Schroeder and the three teams in front of us all graduate a lot. That is a tournament we can win next year.”
The tough matches aren’t over for Lehman, with matches ahead with Valley View and Lima Shawnee.
“Valley View is ranked fourth in the area, so that will be a tough match,” he said. “Lima Shawnee is the best team in the Western Buckeye League. We have played three teams in the WBL and beaten all three of them.”
And Ungericht has high hopes for the postseason.
“Griffin (West) has had a great year,” he said. “He is much more mentally tough this year. Last year, he would let things bother him for the entire match. Now, he might have a bad game or two and he is back in it. I am hoping to get him a third seed.
“Sam (Ritze) and Ryan (Goettemoeller) are going to play doubles at sectional. I am hoping to get them a fourth seed. We will see.”
And Ungericht — the former Lehman tennis star — feels like he has a better understanding as a coach.
“This is my fourth year coaching (two years girls and two years boys),” Ungericht said. “I think, just getting that experience has helped me.”
And has made this season much different than first — just like he knew it would be.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.