Young tennis Rangers fall to Royals

The Forest Lake boys tennis team played its second match of the season last Tuesday at home against Woodbury and fell 2-5 to the Royals.

Sophomore Toby Boyer recorded the only win in singles with a 6-0, 6-0 blowout at the No. 1 spot. Boyer is currently ranked eighth in the state.

Ninth-grader Ross Schultz and eighth-grader Ben Bowes earned their first varsity victory at No. 3 doubles with a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Playing for the Rangers at two, three and four singles were ninth-graders Hunter Shortly and Sam Bostrom and eighth-grader Adam Burk, respectively. Seniors Austin Riedeman and James Koenig represented Forest Lake at No. 1 doubles while senior Austin Morris and junior Sam Hamilton played at the No. 2 spot.

With two eighth-graders, three ninth-graders and just one sophomore, one junior and three seniors playing varsity last Tuesday, Forest Lake coach Greg Patchin said it’s hard finding the right partners at doubles to match up against a veteran squad like Woodbury, which has 13 upperclassmen on its varsity roster alone.

“We are still trying to find our identity at the middle singles and No. 1 doubles,” Patchin said. “Woodbury just had too much experience and racket skill for our young singles players, and finding the right partner for Austin (Riedeman) at No. 1 doubles is a challenge.”

Having a continuous battle with the weather isn’t helping. The Rangers have had to postpone four of their matches so far this season. Patchin is confident his team will improve with consistent outdoor practice and play.

“When and if the weather straightens out and we get to practice in above-60-degree temperatures, we have the potential to be a decent team because we have several young people with terrific upsides,” Patchin said. “I am happy with our team effort and no one is giving up during a match. But we are going to have to play lineup bingo with No. 2-and-3 singles and the top-two doubles to get a team victory.”

The Rangers were scheduled to play Mounds View on Tuesday and White Bear Lake on Wednesday, and also host Park at 3:30 p.m. today, April 25. Forest Lake also travels to Elk River for a 9 a.m. invitational on Saturday.