Playing in their first season together, Kaden Jobe and Chase Schreiner are still learning what will make their doubles partnership most dangerous this season.
They may have figured it out on Saturday.
Jobe and Schreiner showed their potential together in a championship performance at the prestigious John Markham Spring Classic in Goddard, erasing a 5-3 deficit against Independence’s Will Schabel and Sam Hilger in the finals to win five straight games and claim the title in an 8-5 victory.
“I think the key for them is to speed it up because they are so quick to the net,” Maize coach John Anderson said. “Once they get their net game going, they’re tough to beat becuase they’re athletes. Not just for tennis, but they’re good athletes in other sports too.”
Jobe is one of the most accomplished net players around and finished third in Class 5A doubles last season. Schreiner has brought a new skillset to the team and thus a new strategy.
In short, Jobe and Schreiner found success when the points ended more quickly. So instead of allowing rallies from the baseline, the duo is charging the net and forcing the action. They may give up a winner every so often, but they believe over the course of a match their length and skills at the net will win out.
“Of course it’s easier said than done when you’re out there against good teams,” Anderson said. “You still have to hit that one crisp shot that gives you the opportunity to get up there at the net. I was really impressed with them and how they were able to do that. Kaden is just a beast at the net and Chase is really becoming a steady presence.”
Jobe and Schreiner, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, weren’t pushed until the semifinals, where they came out on top, 8-6, in a back-and-forth match with Topeka West’s Kyle Rice and Zach Shima, the same team that took fifth in 5A doubles a season ago.
That set up the finals showdown with Schabel and Hilger, who had just defeated the tournament’s top seed in Lawrence Free State’s Erik Czapinski and Cooper Rasmussen and held a 5-3 lead over Jobe and Schreiner on Saturday.
But all it took was one game for Jobe and Schreiner to capture the momentum, as Anderson watched in amazement as they rattled off five straight games to win the title.
“They’re a big momentum-type team,” Anderson said. “It was like watching a basketball team go on a 12-0 run. They have that capability and they had to do it (Saturday), so it was even sweeter. Once they get some confidence and momentum going, they really just take off.”
In the singles field, Independence’s Zack Schroeder topped Arkansas City’s Berret Hollis for the championship. Oddly enough, Schroeder and Hollis will again on Monday for another championship in the rain-delayed finals of the Arkansas City Invitational.
Although it had no teams in the final, McPherson was able to win the team championship — even without bringing its top doubles team. The Bullpups scored 124 points, on the strength of Jarrod Nowak (third) and Andrew Snell (fourth) in the singles field, as they edged out Free State (118), Independence (116), and Maize (114).
“I was a little bit shocked we were able to win it as a team just because we brought two freshmen that typically aren’t with our top six,” McPherson coach Tyler Brown said. “So it feels pretty good to win a tournament of that kind of caliber.”
Snell registered a high-quality, 8-3 win over Independence’s Luke Bass, who was seeded one spot ahead of him, to advance to the semifinals before falling to Hollis, while Nowak took care of Eisenhower’s Luke Howard 8-0 in the quarterfinals before taking four games off Schrader, the eventual champion, in the semifinals.
Nowak defeated Snell in the third-place match, 8-4.
“They’re both really high-quality players, so there’s no doubt in my mind they can make it to the semifinals or even the finals in a tournament like this,” Brown said. “It didn’t work out today, but I was pretty happy with their performance.”
John Markham Spring Classic
Teams: McPherson 124, Lawrence Free State 118, Independence 116, Maize Red 114, Topeka West 101, Eisenhower 84, Derby 78, Blue Valley West 75, Maize White 75, Hutchinson 63, Conway Springs 62, Campus 56, Goddard 56, Arkansas City 52.
1. Schroeder, Independence, def. Hollis, Arkansas City, 5-0; 3. Nowak, McPherson, def. Snell, McPherson, 8-4; 5. Klaassen, Arkansas City, def. Nickel, Free State, 8-5; 7. Howard, Eisenhower, def. Bass, Independence, 8-4; 9. Severud, Hutchinson, def. Price, BV West, 8-2; 11. Pultz-Earle, Free State, def. Russell, Maize South, 8-2; 13. Bowman, Derby, def. Pfeifer, Maize, 8-4; 15. Gaudreau, Topeka West, def. Hernandez, Hutchinson, 8-5; 15.
Quarterfinals: Hollis, Arkansas City, def. Nickel, Free State, 8-4; Snell, McPherson, def. Bass, Independence, 8-3; Nowak, McPherson, def. Howard, Eisenhower, 8-0; Schroeder, Independence, def. Klaasen, Arkansas City, 8-2. Semifinals: Hollis, Arkansas City, def. Snell, McPherson, 8-3; Schroeder, Independence, def. Nowak, McPherson, 8-4.
1. Jobe-Schreiner, Maize, def. Schabel-Hilger, Independence, 8-5; 3. Czapinski-Rasmussen, Free State, def. Rice-Shima, Topeka West, 8-7 (3); 5. Kratzer-Ohnmeis, Maize, def. Anderson-McGreevy, Eisenhower, 8-7 (3); 7. Hageman-Munsey, McPherson, def. Gonzalez-Kuebler, Topeka West, 8-0; 9. Palmer-Simmons, Derby, def. Pascual-Melvin, Free State, 8-5; 11. Schultz-Cole, Maize, def. Schrader-Edmonson, McPherson, 8-5; 13. Winter-Mies, Conway Springs, def. Talbert-Apsley, Campus, 8-2; 15. Stout-Sherman, BV West, def. Tatum-Winter, Goddard, 8-5.
Quarterfinals: Czapinski-Ramussen, Free State, def. Kratzer-Ohnmeis, Maize, 8-1; Schabel-Hilger, Independence, def. Hageman-Munsey, McPherson, 8-6; Rice-Shima, Topeka West, def. Anderson-McGreevy, Eisenhower, 8-6; Jobe-Schreiner, Maize, def. Gonzales-Kuebler, Topeka West, 8-1. Semifinals: Schabel-Hilger, Independence, def. Czapinski-Rasmussen, Free State, 8-6; Jobe-Schreiner, Maize, def. Riche-Shima, Topeka West, 8-6.