By Murray Gleffe
MADISON-The Ashwaubenon Jaguars tandem of Colin Chapman and Kole Kolinski weren’t seeded at the WIAA Boys Tennis State Tournament (May 31-June 2).
However, that didn’t detract from them making some noise on Thursday and Friday.
In the opening round, the duo faced off against Nolan Rehard and Nick Shultz of Oconomowoc.
They entered in at 8-6 and were a special qualifier entry.
The Jaguars pair quickly went up 4-1 in the first set behind the powerful serving of Kolinski.
He continually sent 110 mph bombs the other way that at times were unreturnable.
Chapman backed him up with precision like ground strokes down the middle.
The Jaguars held serve each time and broke the Raccoons twice to take the opener 6-2.
In the second set, Ashwaubenon appeared to be in complete control up 4-1.
However, Rehard and Schultz made a run and won three games in a row behind crisp volleying and overheads.
It was short-lived, however, as the Jaguars held serve and broke Oconomowoc to take the match in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.
“We played tremendous tennis for the first 13 games of the first round,” expressed Scott Conradt, Ashwaubenon Boys Tennis Coach. “There didn’t seem to be any nerves by Colin or Kole. I think we got a bit ahead of ourselves thinking they would lay down in the middle of the second set. That didn’t happen, and we had to play a couple of really good games to close out the match.”
In the round of 32, the Jaguars matched up against Alex Fisher and Cole Johnstone of perennial power Brookfield East.
Despite the Spartans pair having the number 11 seed, the Jaguars figured to match up well.
“We were around the 18 or 19 team on the board for a seed,” said Conradt. “ There are five really strong doubles teams that are above the rest of us. I knew comparing scores of both of our teams that if we played well, it would be a tight match.”
What transpired next would have been entertaining had it been shown on The Tennis Channel.
The Jaguars came storming out of the gates and took the opening set without resistance by a score of 6-1.
If the Spartans players were shocked they quickly made adjustments to ‘turn the tide’.
In a matter of a 30-minute span, the Jaguars went from being up a set to dropping the second set 6-0, and 3-1 down in the third and deciding set.
The Jaguars appeared to have awoken a sleeping giant during that time frame and the Spartans were moving to the ball like they were the fresher team.
The green and gold knew they had to flip the momentum quickly before it was too late.
“I think the kids and myself were surprised at how easily we won the first set,” Conradt added. “We maybe got a little too confident and let our guard down. Give Brookfield East credit, though, they played tremendous during those 10 or so games.”
The Jaguars then made a tactical move and switched to the I and aussie formations to try and confuse the Spartans.
The Jaguars held serve and picked up two breaks in the span of five games to take the lead back at 5-4.
If you thought the match was coming to an end, think again.
This match had more twist and turns than the scrambler at Bay Beach!
The Spartans broke back to even the match and then held to go up 6-5.
With Chapman serving, and Ashwaubenon on the brink of elimination, the Jaguars saved four match points to send the third set to a deciding tiebreaker.
The Spartans quickly went up 6-2 and had four chances to win the match.
Once again, the Jaguars pair refused to give in and calmly won each point to even the score at six apiece.
The fist pumps and shouts could barely be heard amongst the crowd of over 300 that assembled into the corner of court nine at Nielsen Stadium.
The Jaguars then had two match points of their own at 8-7, and 9-8.
Each time, though, the Spartans pushed back and saved them as well.
At 10-9, the Spartans finally struck the last blow to win the match 1-6, 6-0, 7-6 and move onto the round of 16.
“It was probably the greatest match (win or lose) that I have been a part of in my 20 years or so of coaching,” Conradt added. “I don’t say that lightly. I have seen probably close to 1500 matches give or take during that period. To say that, means the tennis, sportsmanship, and crowd were just spectacular. It’s a bummer we came out on the wrong end, but I am just so proud of these guys for their effort and world class attitude after.”