BOWLING GREEN — Ottawa-Glandorf senior Alex Schroeder had to be
cringing when he saw the Division II district tennis tournament draw. A
runner-up at the UNOH sectional last weekend earned Schroeder his third
consecutive trip to the district level. For the third year in a row, he
found himself across the net from Lexington junior Mason Dragos.
As he had done twice before, Dragos ended the season for the Titan, winning this one 6-1, 6-1.
(Alex) has ran into him three straight years,” Ottawa-Glandorf coach
Jay Laubenthal said. “I guess the luck of the draw hasn’t been on Alex’s
side. It’s pretty frustrating to see the same kid in the round to get
to state three straight years.”
The day started well for
Schroeder, who took on Perkins senior Josh Rohrbacher in the opening
round. Rohrbacher is an all-district performer in football and
wrestling, but hasn’t played a lot of tennis. That he qualified for
districts is a testament to his athleticism and a powerful forehand.
won the opening game on serve before Rohrbacher battled back from three
break points to hold and tie the score at 1-1. In a first set filled
with errors by both players, Rohrbacher’s high-velocity forehand kept
him in the match early, as Schroeder found himself off-balance and on
the run. Still, the Titan senior held a 3-1 lead before Rorhbacher
fought back to win three of the next four games and tie the score at
“He has a monster forehand,” Schroeder said of his opening
round opponent. “As soon as I hit it, I’d have to set my feet and be
ready because he was coming, running around his backhand almost every
time. He hit really flat forehands deep, I had to move my feet right
after my serve.”
With the first set tied at 5-5, Schroeder found
his rhythm on the first serve and put pressure on the Perkins senior.
Three consecutive errors by Rorhbacher gave Schroeder the advantage in
the game, and a second-serve ace put the Titan ahead at 6-5.
was off his game from that point forward, Unforced errors put him
behind on serve and Rorhbacher’s double fault gave the first set to
Schroeder at 7-5.
“In that first set, both of these guys were
hitting the ball pretty hard,” Laubenthal said. “I don’t think Alex was
on top of his game in that first set, and take nothing away from
(Rohrbacher), but I think Alex just kind of wore him down and got to him
in the second set there.”
In the second set, it was all
Schroeder. The senior settled in and controlled pace throughout the set.
After holding serve to open the set, he broke Rorhbacher, then held at
love for a 3-0 lead. Schroeder then broke again, this time without
yielding a point and cruised to a 6-0 second set victory to seal the
When asked if nerves were a factor in the first set,
Schroeder admitted to being a little on edge as the match began. “A
little bit, but that’s every match,” Schroeder explained. “I was pretty
confident coming in.”
Taking on Dragos for the right to advance to
state, Schroeder was on the move early and often. Dragos used a
razor-sharp left-handed forehand to move the ball around the court with
excellent pace. It was more than power that gave Schroeder trouble,
however, it was the precision with which Dragos landed each shot he
tried. The southpaw from Lexington didn’t simply return the ball across
the net, he did so with purpose, firing away at the corners of the
court, and he rarely missed.
“He’s a good player, he’s a
year-round player,” Laubenthal noted of Dragos. “He’s going to be
playing at the next level for sure.”
It took until the fifth game
of the match for Schroeder to get on the board, but he held serve after
fighting off a break point to trail 4-1. Dragos came right back,
allowing just one point on his next service game before breaking the
Titan to sew up the first set.
Dragos opened the second set with a
service hold, then broke Schroeder at love for a 2-0 lead. Schroeder
served down 3-0 and led 40-30 when he was finally able to put away a
game with an overhead smash that eluded Dragos.
Dragos then held serve at love and won the next two games to close the match.
The loss closes Schroeder’s career at Ottawa-Glandorf.
probably one of the better O-G tennis players the school has had in its
history,” Laubenthal explained. “He’s put a lot of time, his whole
family has put a lot of time into tennis. He’s had a great career; last
year winning the WBL, this year getting back to districts.
Unfortunately, he never got to the next match.”