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Dixon wins big over Newman

Dukes win seven matches to beat Comets

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 1:05 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, May 10, 2014 1:09 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Newman's JP Neisewander returns a shot against Dixon's Sam Bratt on Friday.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Newman's Andrew Schmitt returns a shot against Dixon's Zach Healy on Friday.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Dixon's Sam Bratt hits a forehand against Newman's JP Neisewander on Friday.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Dixon's Zach Healy returns a shot against Newman's Andrew Schmitt during a dual meet Friday at Sauk Valley Community College. The Dukes beat the Comets 7-2.

DIXON – As Keenan Longan exited his tennis court, his body tilted from side to side with each slow step. He was exhausted.

With his tennis racket in his left hand and his tennis bag draped over his right shoulder, the junior was in search of a cool drink, a place to sit, and some shade before his impending doubles match.

"Keep your legs moving and get some water in you," Dixon coach Steve Boll said. "Make sure you drink some water."

Longan had just won the longest singles match he had ever played, a 1 hour, 50 minute head-to-head affair against Newman's Elliot Frankfother. The two had been playing for so long that raising the racket to serve looked like they were trying to lift Excalibur.

Some doubles matches had already started while they played and, instead of playing a full third set, the two played a super tiebreaker – first to 10 points – in order to move the meet along.

Longan eventually won at No. 5 singles in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 10-8. His win helped the Dukes to a 7-2 win over the Comets at Sauk Valley Community College on Friday. It was Newman's senior night.

"It was really exhausting," Longan said. "Especially since it was max day in weight lifting today, so you're already dead beforehand. Also, you know you have another match afterward."

Longan hydrated quickly and sauntered onto the top doubles court with partner Scott Heath to take on J.P. Neisewander and Andrew Schmitt.

Heath was also exhausted, even though he didn't play a singles match. It felt like he did, however, because he gave blood earlier in the day as part of a blood drive held at Dixon.

"It wasn't the best situation," Longan said.

The Comets duo of Neisewander and Schmitt dispatched the Dukes top pair handily, 6-3, 6-2, for one of two wins.

Schmitt accounted for the other Newman win at No. 2 singles when he defeated Zach Healy, 6-0, 6-1. Schmitt was strong throughout the two sets, placing shots accurately, and kept Healy moving around throughout, not letting him settle in at any spot on the court.

"I played him well," Schmitt said. "I had a strategy and executed it well, and it worked. It was a good match, and it was a lot of fun."

Dixon won five singles matches, including wins from Sam Bratt (No. 1), Bryce Stanley (No. 3), Michael Gale (No. 4) and Justin Wilson (No. 6). The Dukes' doubles wins came from the team of Stanley and Gale at No. 2, and the duo of Wilson and Ian South at No. 3.

Despite losing to Bratt at the top singles spot, 6-3, 6-2, Neisewander had some fun on the court, making sure to soak up his senior night.

He often had something to say about each shot, and played up to the crowd before serves.

"It's a common theme for me," Neisewander said of having fun, "probably to the other team's aggravation most of the time.

"But my opponent, Sam Bratt, was really good. He had some great shots."

"I was hoping we could have done a little better," Newman coach Ann Propheter said. "When you play Dixon, you always want to do your best."

What if your best takes almost 2 hours?

"I just want to go home. My quads hurt, I can't really move," Longan said. "I'm probably going to feel it tomorrow. It's going to be bad."

Star of the meet: Andrew Schmitt, Newman, had role in both of Comets two wins.

Key performers: Sam Bratt, Dixon, won at No. 1 singles in straight-sets; Keenan Longan, Dixon, won nearly 2-hour match at No. 5 singles.

Up next: Rock Island at Dixon, 4:30 p.m. Monday; Sterling at Newman, 4:30 p.m. Monday

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