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Fort Zumwalt South boys netters roll into postseason

The Fort Zumwalt South boys tennis team recently clinched its third straight GAC North-Central Conference Championship and is primed for a strong playoff run. [Jonathan Duncan/Mid-Rivers Newsmagazine photo]

Fort Zumwalt South boys tennis coach David Fox suspected at the outset of the season that his Bulldogs club would be pretty good once they got into regular season play.

As the regular season winds down this week, Zumwalt South has been determined and strong on the courts as the Bulldogs finished their season on Tuesday with an 11-2 slate.

It has been a watershed season for Zumwalt South as the Bulldogs have just completed the best start and best regular season in program and school history.

“We felt like coming in to the season we had a chance to be really good since most of the guys since we did well and were coming off winning the GAC (Gateway Athletic Conference) meet last year,” Fox said. “I think that with the work we’ve put in that I’m not completely surprised that we have been able to do this well.”

Zumwalt South started the season on a blazing roll with seven straight wins over the likes of Fort Zumwalt West, Fort Zumwalt East, Troy Buchanan, St. Dominic, Liberty, Francis Howell Central, and St. Charles West.

The Bulldogs only blemishes were an 8-1 setback to private school power CBC (8-1) on April 16 and a 5-4 loss to St. Charles on Tuesday at home.

How dominant has Zumwalt South been in dual match play? Extremely dominant. Five of the Bulldogs wins have been shutouts and in three other victories, Zumwalt South has held the opponent to just one victory in match play.

Fox credits a strong, determined focus and great dedication to excel as the keys to the team’s latest success.

“Well, we have a lot of dedicated, tough-minded kids that want to do their best  and want to win adn they give it everything they have in every match,” Fox said. “They work hard in the off-season and they came ready to play at the beginning of the season and have just done really well. They are really good group of determined kids.”

In the singles flights, senior Nick Hornung has been getting the job done in the number one singles spot. Freshman Joseph He plays at number two singles. Senior Sal Raymond works at the number three singles position. At the number singles slot is senior Chris Vojdak. The number five singles spot is held by junior Akshat Madalla. Sophomore Tucker Musgrove fills out the singles rotation in the number 6 slot.

Hornung has been the top singles player through the season as he just two matches. The senior number one was close to perfect as he went 10-2 in the regular season.

“I didn’t really expect this type of success,” Hornung said. “Going into number one (this year) I was pretty nervous and scared because there is a lot of good players there,” Hornung said. ”

He credited his success this season to staying mentally strong and making sure he does not get outworked by opponents during matches.

“I’ve been just trying to be mentally strong as I can be and just trying to out work the opponent,” Hornung said. “If I’m not as talented as the them, just try and do whatever I can to get the win for the team.”

“Nick Hornung has been the number one player all year and he has to play the best player from the other team every match and he has done really well in most of his matches,” Fox said.

The Bulldogs run three pairs in the doubles flights.

Hornung and Madalla play together in the number doubles slot.

Raymond and Bojdak team up in the number doubles position. Senior Noah Martin and He man the number three doubles spot.

Fox also noted that the balance and depth of the team has allowed them to be strong as well.

“When someone isn’t playing well, someone will pick them up and help the team, so it’s a very good team,” Fox said.

Zumwalt South also added one more great achievement to their outstanding campaign last week, as they captured the Gateway Athletic Conference North Central Tournament championship.

The title was the third straight for the Bulldogs and a fitting way for the clubs four seniors to close out their final season.

Now the attention shifts to making a strong run in the district playoffs, which will begin next Tuesday. Zumwalt South is the top seed in Class 2, District 6 and the Bulldogs are very much focused on trying to erase the sting of last year’s sectional loss to Parkway Central.

“The goal is to make it to state like get to the Final Four,” Hornung said. “Last year we lost the sectional championship and hopefully we can win that this year and make it to state.”




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