Not having a high school tennis season in the spring of 2020 could have affected the Waverly Tigers negatively.
Instead, they picked up right where they left off, rolling through an undefeated season on their way to locking up a fourth-straight Southern Ohio Conference title.
Not only is it their fourth straight SOC tennis title, it is also the ninth team championship for the boys’ program since Matt Morrison has been in the head coaching position. Other titles have come in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Morrison now has 10 SOC titles as a tennis coach, as he also won a title with the girls’ team in 2019.
Despite having one SOC match left to play in 2021, nobody else can catch the Tigers. They will wrap up league competition on Monday versus the Wheelersburg Pirates.
Staying undefeated, the Waverly Tigers continued their dominant tennis play through two weeks of crazy Ohio spring weather. The following sections include summaries from contests during that timespan.
April 19 vs. Logan Elm
On Monday night, April 19, the Tigers entertained the Logan Elm Braves and won 4-1.
“The whole team is playing well right now. We are serving well as a team and playing the net better than our opponents. Practices are highly competitive and we’re having fun,” said Waverly coach Matt Morrison. “I can’t ask for more from a coaching standpoint.”
In No. 1 singles, Penn Morrison won 6-0, 6-1. No. 2 singles saw Mark Stulley take a pair of battles 6-4, 6-4. In No. 3 singles, Landon Shiland fell 2-6, 0-6.
In No. 1 doubles, Caden Nibert and Waylon Lamerson cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 victory. In No. 2 doubles, the senior duo of Jaxson Poe and Patrick Copple won 6-2, 6-1.
“I think we have a good shot to get multiple guys on the all-league team and multiple guys to districts as well,” said Morrison. “We are doing well right now; but we have to look past the results, continue to figure things out at practice, and get better, so when we have to play our best, we can.
With that victory, the Tigers improved to 7-0 overall.
April 20 @ Valley
On Tuesday, the Tigers traveled to Lucasville and surged past the hosting Valley Indians 5-0.
In No. 1 singles, Penn Morrison won 6-1, 6-0. In No. 2 singles and No. 3 singles respectively, Mark Stulley and Landon Shiland won 6-0, 6-0.
In No. 1 doubles, Caden Nibert and Waylon Lamerson matched that score, winning 6-0, 6-0 as well. In No. 2 singles, Patrick Copple and Jaxson Poe had the most challenging match of the evening, but still won 6-1, 6-2.
April 21 @ Clay
The results were similar on Wednesday night, as the Tigers rolled to another 5-0 triumph, surging past the Clay Panthers.
In No. 1 singles, Penn Morrison did not drop a single game, winning 6-0, 6-0. In No. 2 singles, Mark Stulley picked up the 6-1, 6-0 victory. In No. 3 singles, Landon Shiland triumphed 6-2, 6-2.
In doubles, Waylon Lamerson and Caden Nibert won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1, while Patrick Copple and Jaxson Poe did the same at No. 2.
With those three wins, the Tigers improved to 9-0 overall. The Portsmouth match that was originally scheduled for Thursday was cancelled.
April 26 vs. Minford
Needing to win two final matches to lock up their fourth straight SOC tennis title, the Tigers overcame a challenging Minford Falcons team Monday evening in windy conditions, recording a 3-2 triumph.
In No. 1 singles, Penn Morrison dominated, winning 6-0, 6-0.
“Penn continues to roll, just pounding the ball and not letting his opponent even get into the match at all,” said Coach Morrison.
In No. 2 singles, Mark Stulley suffered his first defeat of his first-ever tennis season, dropping the match 4-6, 3-6.
“The Minford kid was just really solid tonight. Mark made a few more errors than we’re accustomed to, and it cost him,” said Morrison. “It is a good lesson. He’ll learn from it and get better.”
In No. 3 singles, Landon Shiland fell 1-6, 0-6.
Continuing their run, the No. 1 doubles duo of Waylon Lamerson and Caden Nibert won 6-1, 6-1.
“One doubles continued their dominance as well,” said Coach Morrison, who noted they had not yet lost more than three to four games in a match.
The senior tandem of Jaxson Poe and Patrick Copple had a rough start, dropping their first set before claiming the second easily. The third set was tight as well, but the senior Tigers were victorious, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.
“Tonight came down to a long one at two doubles. You’re going to have those nights where you play badly, and nothing seems to go your way. That’s what happened at two doubles tonight, but we were able to make enough shots when it counted,” said Waverly coach Matt Morrison. “We made so many errors. We had lots of self-inflicted losses of games with double faults, but we were able to overcome them when it mattered.”
April 27 vs. Valley
Needing the victory to clinch their fourth straight conference trophy, the Tigers secured their outright SOC title by cruising past the visiting Valley Indians 5-0 on their home court Tuesday evening.
In No. 1 and No. 2 singles, Penn Morrison and Mark Stulley each won 6-0, 6-0. In No. 3 singles, Landon Shiland dropped just one game, taking the match 6-1, 6-0.
Both doubles teams won their first set without dropping a game. At No. 1, Caden Nibert and Waylon Lamerson cruised 6-0, 6-1. At No. 2, Patrick Copple and Jaxson Poe won 6-0, 6-2.
The Tigers will wrap up SOC regular season play on Monday at home against Wheelersburg. Then it is off to the SOC tournaments in Portsmouth on the Shawnee State courts. They will return to Portsmouth the following week to play in the sectional tournament.