Mingus Union boys tennis did so well in their season opener that head coach Larry Lineberry compared the Marauders to Roger Federer.
Mingus Union won their first match of the season, 6-3 over Moon Valley, and already equaled their win total of last season. The Marauders went 1-13 in 2016.
“I’m really happy about that,” said Lineberry, who is in his second season coach at Mingus Union.
Lineberry “everything else is gravy for the rest of the season” and that already getting that win is like Federer winning the Australian Open this year.
“He didn’t think he was going to do that, now he has to rethink his whole season because now he’s already achieved his goal in January,” Lineberry said with a laugh. “My first match I’ve already achieved my goal, matched it.”
Senior Alex Flannery led the Marauders, winning the No. 1 match 6-0, 6-0 and along with junior Caleb Wylie, taking the top doubles match 8-3.
“I didn’t figure he’d win three matches the whole year because it’s such a tough position, everyone’s got a good number one player,” Lineberry said.
The team victory over the Rockets came without two of Mingus’ six starters.
Freshman John Valentine and sophomore Jordan Finger both won in the No. 5 and No. 6 spots in their first competitive matches ever. Valentine won 6-2, 6-0 and Finger’s victory was 6-4, 6-2. Finger also won his doubles match.
“I was very impressed with John Valentine and Jordan Finger because this is the first time they’ve ever played a match of a consequence and they won,” Lineberry said. “They were big wins for us, we needed the wins.”
Junior Prince Setsaengsri also won his singles match, 6-2, 6-4. The doubles team of junior Crue Taylor and Finger won 8-5.
Lineberry did not know what to expect in the opening match, after the Marauders lost their No. 1, 2 and 4 from last year’s team.
“I don’t know Moon Valley from Moonraker, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Lineberry said. “They were an inexperienced team also so I thought we’d have a chance when I saw them warming, but we still have to win the matches.”
While it is not going out on that much of a limb, Lineberry said he does expect Mingus Union to do better this season.
“I think we’ll do better, we have a better team this year than last year, we have top to bottom, we have more depth so that was proven (Thursday), I can say that,” Lineberry said.
Up next for Mingus Union a match at Sunrise Mountain on Tuesday. Their next home match is Thursday when they Agua Fria.
Lineberry said that the victory will have much bigger consequences than simply helping the Marauders’ record.
“There’s nothing like winning a match man I’m telling ya,” Lineberry said. “You’re so excited to come to practice tomorrow and ready to improve and they won’t be discouraged next week if they lose, they’ve got a win under their belt. We have a team win and that is huge for getting us through the rest of the season.”