NEGAUNEE - Cody Tossava gave himself a nice 18th birthday present Wednesday.
The two-time MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 champion at No. 2 singles from Negaunee High School ran his season record to 3-0 with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles over Ishpeming's Lucas Lisawsky.
Tossava's effort spearheaded an 8-0 NHS victory over the visiting Hematites, who were playing their first match of the season.
Negaunee High School’s Cody Tossava returns a shot to Ishpeming’s Lucas Lisawsky, not pictured, during their No. 1 singles match on Wednesday at Negaunee. Tossava won, 6-0, 6-0. (Journal photo by Craig Remsburg)
"I served well. That was the key," Tossava said. "I also hit my backhand well and my forehand was good. I played a complete match today."
Lisawsky is an exchange student from Germany who Tossava had never played before. That didn't bother the Negaunee ace, however.
"Even if I know my opponent, I focus on trying to make it easy on myself," Tossava said. "I set up points to get my forehand or backhand going."
He said he struggled with his backhand on the return serve Tuesday against Gwinn.
"Today, I didn't miss any of them," Tossava said.
Said NHS head coach Kyle Saari: "Cody hit the ball solid. He did a nice job keeping the ball deep in the court."
Ishpeming head coach Erl Langness said Lisawsky had some trouble adjusting to Tossava being left-handed.
"Both (players) hit with power, but Tossava a lot of times hit cross-court winners," the coach said.
Ryan Syrjala, Rob Sertich and Anthony Moyle also won their singles matches for the Miners (3-0), all in straight sets.
At No. 1 doubles, Negaunee's Nick Martin and Michael Anderson knocked off Jorge Muela - a Spanish exchange student - and Kirk Guckenberg, 6-2, 6-2.
"We hit the ball well and served decent," Martin said.
Added Anderson: "We hit the ball cross court and deep. Ishpeming's volleys were good, so we just tried to keep the ball away from them."
Saari noted Martin and Anderson are playing varsity for the first time.
"They were varsity-caliber players last year, but just couldn't crack our lineup," the coach said. "They've been chomping at the bit to get an opportunity to play and are making the most of it so far."
Alex Roth and Stephen Trawick, Ben Luke and Doug Lindblom, and Kolton Klein and Micah Johnson also prevailed for Negaunee in doubles play, all in straight sets.
"I like our No. 3 doubles." Saari said of Luke and Lindblom. "They're two positive kids with real character who play consistent tennis.
"We played well today. We're real young and raw in some places, but we're getting better day-by-day. We just want to make some improvements."
The Hematites not only were playing their opening match of the season, but several Ishpeming netters saw action outside for the first time this spring due to snow on their home courts.
"Our courts just got dry (Tuesday) and we had eight kids able to play outside before today," Langness said, noting his team has been practicing four days a week in the Ishpeming Armory for 1 hours each session.
"Today was the first time some of our kids got outside.
"Negaunee is a strong team, but I saw some positive things today," he added. "We got some work in."
Langness said he hopes to have Thomas Bleau, who played No. 3 singles last season, back into the lineup this season once the latter's left ankle he broke playing hockey heals.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.