Rebels tennis falls to tough opponents

Sports Editor

The Champlin Park boys tennis team won its first match of the season 4-3 over Osseo, but it has struggled to win its latest matches.

The Champlin Park boys tennis team is looking to break its six-match losing streak. (Sun Post staff photo by Chris Chesky)

The Rebels play in the Northwest Suburban Conference, one of the state’s toughest conferences for boys tennis.

“We lost to Andover 2-5, and we lost to Elk River, who is good,” Champlin Park head boys tennis coach Brian Larson said. “We’re young, we’re still trying to figure things out.

“We’re making some good progress. They’re working hard every day and that’s all you can ask for.”

Despite the rough stretch of matches it has had over the last couple of weeks, Larson continues to see strong play from his team.

“We have seen a willingness to go out there and compete,” Larson said. “We’re trying to come in that next day and get better.

“We’re making strides with that and the desire is there, but tennis is a hard sport and it takes time and repetition. When we’re playing tough teams, things can get discouraging quite fast, but we have to stay positive.”

The rough spring weather has also created trouble for the Rebels, as postponed matches have made Champlin Park play three or five matches per week.

“It’s hard with the weather,” Larson said. “We didn’t have a match because of rain, but we had matches that Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and the next Monday and Tuesday.

“It’s just we haven’t had a lot of practice, but we’re making good progress. You always want more practice to work things out a little bit.”

Rather than using practices to set itself up for success in its matches, the Rebels have had to use their tough matches to improve their play. Larson said he saw his team pick up quite a bit during its 2-5 loss to Centennial April 18.

With the Section 5AA tournament set to begin May 17, the Rebels know they don’t have a lot of time, but they are confident they can improve in time to face the section’s tough opponents.

“I think collectively we need to be more consistent with our shots,” Larson said. “We don’t necessarily have to have the amazing shot, but just consistently put the ball where we want it.

“If they beat us with good shots, they beat us with good shots.”

Champlin Park will play its next match of the season against Blaine at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Blaine High School.

Contact Chris Chesky at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MNSunSports or @SunSportsChris.