Way brothers power Colonels past Mexico

Way brothers power Colonels past Mexico
Missouri Military Academy's Simon Way won both in singles and in doubles, paired with his brother Isaac Way against Mexico. [Jessica Ekern]
Dave Faries

Mexico took two of three in the doubles round, but the Colonels’ depth was on full display when it came to singles as Missouri Military Academy topped the Bulldogs 7-2.

Although the team scoreline weighed heavily in MMA’s favor, there were accolades on offer for both sides.

“He was a really good opponent – very challenging,” the Colonels’ Simon Way said of Mexico’s Carter McIntosh after Way’s 8-2 singles win. “I like to play guys like that.”

Mexico’s Haden Frazier was equally impressed after dropping a set 8-3 to MMA’s Marco Tavarez.

“That guy is probably the best I’ve played,” Frazier said. “His serves are insane.”

But the stars of the match were MMA’s Isaac and Simon Way. Paired up they handed the Bulldogs’ number one team of McIntosh and Randy Hernandez an 8-2 loss, making constant adjustments throughout the set.

“That’s the advantage of having a brother,” Isaac Way observed. “Our communication was good.”

Isaac Way went on to down Hernandez 8-0 in the singles round. Simon Way faced off against McIntosh.

“I think I can improve, but I’m where I should be,” he said. “I play my A game no matter what.”

The match had originally been scheduled for the Bulldogs’ home court at Mexico’s fairgrounds park. But with heavy rain drenching the area, the teams agreed to move to MMA’s indoor facility.

Initially the switch seemed to favor Mexico. Frazier and Ryan Pemberton swept Tavarez and Gorka Yarte 8-0 in doubles play.

Pemberton has practiced in the old MMA gym in the past and was ready for the experience.

“I’m used to playing indoors,” he said. “You get to see your serve on full display.

The Bulldogs emerged from the doubles round with a 2-1 advantage thanks to an epic set.

The Colonels’ Samuel Way and Bradford Wright locked into a tug of war against Mexico’s Bryson Stuehmer and Andrew Stephens that lasted through much of the evening. Players in slots one through four wrapped up their doubles sets and moved on to singles.

But the battle dragged on with neither side able to gain an edge.

“We started making mistakes,” Stephens observed. “Serves kept us in the game.”

Knotted at 8-8 in the pro set 8 format, the set went to a tie breaker. Finally Stephens and Stuehmer closed it out in an 8-6 overtime.

“That was long,” Stuehmer said. “I’ve never gone through a tie breaker.”

MMA swept the singles round, although all were hard fought. Wright returned from his doubles ordeal to edge Mexico’s Noah Harlan 8-6. Samuel Way turned the tables on Pemberton 8-2.

And after his lengthy doubles participation, Steuhmer could not keep pace with MMA’s Yarte, who won 8-2.

“He had a really good serve,” Yarte said of his Mexico opponent. “I just played consistently.”

“MMA is always well coached,” observed Mexico head coach Tony Senior. “We will work on a few mechanical issues and get back to it.”

The Bulldogs were back in action on Monday in Hannibal.

The Colonels have a break. They are not scheduled to return to the court until April 19 against Father Tolton. But the time off doesn’t faze coach Brad Smith.

“Our team is feeling very confident moving forward into the season,” he said.


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