BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WATERLOO – Jason and Vasin Thurman are just shots away, literally, from an eventual medal at the Iowa State Doubles Tennis tournament.
The two sophomores from Holy Trinity Catholic, who play in the Fort Madison High School’s shared tennis program, ran into about three tiebreakers against some of the best doubles teams in the state, but came up short Friday in the second round of consolation play.
The toughest loss came at the hands of Denison-Schleswig’s Sean Moran and Colin Reis.
The twins dropped the first set in the 13th game after giving up a 6-5 lead. After the Bloodhounds broke serve to go up 6-5, Vasin Thurman hit a rifle down the left lane that just missed, allowing Moran and Reis to break back and tie it at 6.
The two from Denison then almost blanked the Thurmans in the tiebreaker going up 6-1 in the first to seven point breaker. They trailed 1-2 after a Jason Thurman serve was returned long and then Denison took the next four points to lead 6-1. Fort Madison would score the next point, but Moran and Reis would win in the next rally for the set.
Jason and Vasin regrouped and blew through the next set giving up only one game in a 6-1 rout and had all the momentum going into the first-to-ten superbreaker.
But an unusually long break of almost 10 minutes between the second set and the upcoming tiebreak seemed to clear the twins’ momentum as they dropped the tiebreaker 4-10 to end their season.
“Taking that break in between the 2nd and 3rd set took some momentum away from us. We didn’t want to take that long of a break, but it’s just however long they want basically, I guess.” Jason said.
The two played in one of the first matches of the day at the tournament, but were forced to play indoors due to a fickle Mother Nature that couldn’t make up her mind, causing play to be indoors, then outdoors, back indoors, and finally outdoors for good after about 11:30.
The Hounds found themselves up against a couple of freshman from Cedar Rapids Xavier in Brady Horstmann and Hugh Corter. The first set was a nailbiter with the two teams exchanging points and games throughout. But the Saints were able to get up 6-5 and take the first set on the next game.
Fort Madison’s duo couldn’t seem to find the momentum and had some trouble hitting into the yellow lights of the Black Hawk Tennis Center.
“We just kept giving them some easy shots and playing in the indoor courts was different, the yellow lights and the yellow ball was different. If they lobbed it up, it was hard to make out the ball against those yellow lights,” Vasin said.
The two then ran up against Spencer’s Marcus Klemme and Grant Carpenter and got in sync quickly, taking the first set 6-2 breaking three Spencer service games, and winning their own serves regularly at 40-love and 40-15.
The Tigers made somewhat a match of it in the second set keeping within a a game of the Thurmans at 4-3 and 5-4. In the 10th game, Vasin hit a lob that got away from Reis in the back court, and then the Hounds put the match away two points later to earn the second round against Denison.
“We played decent today, but we could have played better. The first game we played – the other team was better than us, we could have beat them, but they were just better than us. The last game match we were just not mentally focused in the first set or the tiebreak,” Jason said.
Head Coach Dean Hogan said the third match, the boys lost some steam and energy in the tiebreaker.
“These boys came up here and played well. The twins, they had the momentum, but they just lost their legs in that tiebreaker in the final match. They just got tired,” Hogan said.
The two qualified last year as freshman and didn’t win a match, but have set a goal to finish in the top five next year. A win in that tiebreaker would have put them one win from a guaranteed top eight on Saturday.