FREMONT — Ethan Bock sat on the court Tuesday, his legs straddling a thermos of water, back slumped and his head drooped as he stared at the ground.
He was visibly upset.
The Fremont junior had just surrendered four straight games in the third set of his No. 1 singles match. After once leading 5-2, he now trailed 6-5.
“It’s really uncharacteristic of him to be that way, too,” said Eagles coach Neil Frantz. “But, he had a couple bad breaks, things didn’t go his way, and he was right to be upset.
“What’s more important is how he bounced back. It was amazing to see.”
Bock’s match was one of four that went into three sets Tuesday evening against Blackhawk Christian. Fremont won three of them en route to a 4-1 win over the Braves.
“It really showed that we do, indeed, have some mental toughness to us,” Frantz said. “There’s been matches this year where we have lost those. But tonight showed that we took another step forward as a team.”
Those wins didn’t come easy. In two of those four matches, the Eagles lost the first set, affording the home players few opportunities for mistakes the rest of the way.
Bock fell to Blackhawk’s Colton Romines 4-6 in the first set before fighting to 6-3 and 7-6 (7-3) wins to close it out. In the No. 1 doubles contest, Nick Rutherford and Evan Towns gained a win over Caleb Gibson and Harry Allen after dropping their initial set, too, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
The only match to not reach a third set was in No. 3 singles, which was won by Eagles sophomore Josh Sherbondy, 6-2, 6-4.
It was a highly competitive change of pace for these Eagles, who are often stuck in a no-man’s land of competitiveness, usually either playing teams well above their own level, or well below. That’s not a great recipe for growth, said Frantz.
“Being in the middle, skill-wise, it’s a weird place to be,” Frantz said. “Every season you can look at the schedule and say. ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to win this one and that one, but lose those.’ There’s usually only about four of five matches where you think it could go either way.
“This was one of those five, and it feels great to come out of it with a win.”
The Eagles improved to 6-9 overall this season with the win, and will next take the court Thursday, visiting Northeast Corner Conference power Westview.