About the only thing Portage’s Cody Santas did wrong in his debut at No. 1 singles for the Warriors was mix up the cards the players use to keep score in between games.
The senior, who moved up to the top spot in the Portage lineup in place of graduated senior Jason Narel, was nearly flawless in everything else he did, picking up a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Monroe’s Chris Andraski, and in the process leading the host Warriors to a 6-1 victory over the Cheesemakers in their first match of the season Tuesday afternoon.
Santas’ only miscue came when he accidentally gave the first three points of the opening set to Andraski on the scorecards. When Portage coach Sarah Pulliam saw that the cards showed Santas was behind, she became worried.
“At first, he had the scorecards wrong and I was not happy,” Pulliam said. “I thought he was getting beat, and I was like ‘What is going on?’ He’s been working very hard in the offseason, and I knew last year that he was going to have to replace Jason and knew that he was going to have to work at it. I’m hoping all the work he’s put in will end up paying off for him.”
Santas wasn’t the only Portage singles player on his game, as freshman Emmett Benck and senior Brandon Hall also picked up victories. Benck was a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Evan Thompson at No. 2 singles, while Hall rolled to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Gabe Moon at No. 3 singles.
Portage also swept all three flights of doubles matches. The No. 1 duo of senior Nick Holmes and junior William Buckley made quick work of their opponents, defeating Luke Quinn and Wade Sweeney 6-2, 6-3.
“Everything seemed to be clicking for them,” Pulliam said of her top doubles team. “Having that year last year under the belt, they knew where to place the shots, were communicating and finally have kind of figured it out.”
Seniors Walker Voigt and Michael Erickson needed three sets to get the win, but prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 over Jon Callaway and Heath Bear.
Portage’s No. 3 doubles team of sophomore Alex Rietmann and senior Hunter Lawless also needed three sets, but was able to get a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 win over Charlie Frehner and Luis Torres.
Pulliam said Rietmann and Lawless were especially impressive in their victory.
“We don’t know where Hunter and Alex came from, because they were hitting shots that I’ve never seen before, and Alex especially,” Pulliam said. “Some of the boys were like ‘Where did that come from?’ I don’t know if it’s maturity, or if it’s just general growth. I don’t know if it’s confidence, but everybody was on their game tonight.”
Portage’s play was especially impressive considering the strong wind gusts that sometimes made it difficult for players to figure out where the ball would end up after it left their racket.
“I’m not going to lie; I was a little worried,” Pulliam said. “I was like, this could either go really bad or we could adjust and figure it out, and we did.”
SINGLES: No. 1 — Santas, P, def. Andraski 6-0, 6-2. No. 2 — Benck, P, def. Thompson 6-2, 6-4. No. 3 — Hall, P, def. Moon 6-1, 6-0. No. 4 — Beckman, M, def. Poches 6-0, 6-1.
DOUBLES: No. 1 — Holmes/Buckley, P, def. Quinn/Sweeney 6-2, 6-3. No. 2 — Voigt/Erickson, P, def. Callaway/Bear 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. No. 3 — Lawless/Rietmann, P, def. Frehner/Torres 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. At Portage.