Bobcat tennis plans for future against Dodgers

FORT DODGE – At this point, the Bobcat boys’ tennis team has already played for everything that matters – except the future.

Marshalltown sent a lineup of almost entirely new varsity players to the court Tuesday to take on Fort Dodge in a make-up dual meet, losing 8-3 to the Dodgers in Central Iowa Conference Northern Division play.

Three new singles players and a handful of barely experienced doubles competitors took to the court for the Bobcats (7-5, 1-1). Marshalltown senior Ryan Shomo is a state singles qualifier, and the Bobcats still have to play in the Class 2A team substates on Saturday in Ankeny, so the team used its “all-star” lineup to face off with Fort Dodge.

“We’re kind of treating it like a bowl game or an all-star game,” MHS coach James Christensen said after Saturday’s preliminary substate dual. “We’re going to go with some matchups we haven’t really used before.

“We’re going to have eight new guys playing varsity next year and we’re going to try and get them some varsity experience.”

So the Bobcats did what they wanted to with their lineup, yet Fort Dodge took the match. The Dodgers won five of six singles contests, save for Shomo’s straight-set win at No. 1. Shomo and Ben Anzis paired up for the first time all season and scored a 9-7 pro set victory at No. 1 doubles over Brian Murman and Andrew Stover – Fort Dodge’s state doubles qualifier.

Marshalltown’s only other win on Tuesday came from the No. 5 doubles pairing of Drayton Lents and Joe Cahill.

Varsity singles first-timers for MHS included Connor Cope, Tony Smith and David Butler, while Eric Weinberg and Andrew Walker played their second varsity doubles match. Cahill’s appearance in the starting lineup was his first.