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.

“Somehow, (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.

Schroeder 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 4-4.

“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.

Rorhbacher 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 match.

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.

“He’s 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.”