The Le Mars Community Boys' Tennis team lost to Spirit Lake Monday but Coach Cory Isebrand was excited by what he saw, and, he's looking ahead.
The Bulldogs travel to Spencer Friday night and go to Cherokee for a "dog fight" Saturday morning at the conference tournament.
"That's going to be a dinger," said Isebrand. "It'll be interesting to see how Saturday plays out."
According to the coach, strategy will be the key in a three-horse race with Le Mars, Spirit Lake and Spencer all vying for conference and conference tournament titles.
"We need to beat Spencer Friday and hope that Spencer beats Spirit Lake on Monday," explained the Bulldogs' coach.
Isebrand noted after Monday's match that Dane Trotzig was out with a muscle strain in his thigh since last Wednesday and another player was with the orchestra. But, that was then and this is now, as they say.
"Tomorrow we'll be at full strength. Tonight, we were not," said Isebrand, who continued, "Boy was I happy with our effort tonight though. There were times we had them on ropes."
His enthusiasm never wavered as he ran though the lineup.
"Trotzig played well tonight. Mickey Kinney played very well in singles. Cole Wagner had a nice singles game. Lennie Knaack, even though he lost 6-10, had a great singles game," the coach said.
Then he considered the doubles.
"Kinney and Wagner really played well, I would say it was one of Mickey's finer matches of the year. He was grooving his shots."
Isebrand was also happy with Trotzig and Kinney, the number one doubles team for LCS. They tied Nick Donohue and Danny Fitzbiggons at two, then took them to 6-10, after only winning four games the last time the two teams met.
"They played real well. They're just getting better," beamed the coach.
"Dane was tough on himself but he hasn't played since Wednesday. Just shows what a competitor he is," Isebrand noted.
He was also happy with Istvan Becsky "Peach" and Matt Lakebrink coming back from losing singles and picking up the only doubles win.
"Peach and Lakebrink, who were down 7-9, came back to win 11-9 with four straight wins. Pretty impressive. Everybody's done and sitting by the fence waiting and watching. That was great," he declared.
Trotzig lost to Donohue, 0-10.
Knaack lost to Fitzbiggons, 6-10.
Kinney won over Kyle Ricklefs, 10-4.
Wagner beat Nick Sheley, 10-5.
Becsky lost to Aaron Shell, 9-11, in a close match.
Lakebrink lost to Brian Richter, 0-10.
Trotzig and Kinney lost to Donohue and Fitzbiggons, 6-10.
Knaack and Wagner lost to Ricklefs and Shell, 5-10.
Becsky and Lakebrink won 11-9.