A match between Lakeville South’s Chase Roseth against then fifth-ranked Gavin Young of Eastview was nearing three hours of an intense back-and-forth. Then Roseth lost a key point on a missed volley.
He responded by hitting a ball far over the fence, which earned him a point deduction from his coach Spencer Jones. But it was how Roseth responded to the deduction that made Jones proud.
He eventually won the singles match against Young as his team routed Eastview 7-0 on April 20. He and his team both kept their undefeated records this season.
“He responded with maturity and dedication. He turned that match around,” Jones said. “Last year, if he had been in a poor stretch in a match and received a disciplinary sanction in the match, I don’t think he could’ve recovered.”
Roseth, a team captain, is seventh in Class 2A among singles players in the latest Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association rankings. The Cougars are fourth in the team rankings.
“I’ve been through a lot of tough matches in the past where I wouldn’t stay as positive. I would be pretty negative,” said Roseth, a senior. “I took some time off in the offseason and I just regrouped and came out as a different player. I’m more positive, more upbeat.”
Jones, in his first year coaching the team, helped him change. Jones took his three captains — Roseth, senior Collin Sebring and junior Trevor Tatge — to dinner before the season started.
He told them that the path to success for Lakeville South this season was players controlling their temper. If the captains lose sight of that, Jones said, he will be twice as hard on them to set an example, but still expects them to regroup.
Roseth listened, and did just that in the match against Young.
“ ‘If you respond the right way from my discipline, the rest of the team will respond with the utmost effort,’ ” Jones recalls telling his captains.
“That’s exactly what Chase did in a crucial situation with everybody from the team watching.”
Tatge has noticed a different type of captain from Roseth as well: Before Roseth would let negative moments in matches get to him, but now he’s remaining positive throughout.
“He’s not letting one bad point carry on for the rest of the game,” Tatge said. “He’s just turning around and forgetting about it.”
Roseth, who also has beaten then sixth-ranked Maxim Zagrebelny of Eagan, is the first Lakeville South player to reach 100 career victories.
After barely missing the state tournament last year, Roseth said that remains a big goal this season. With his team’s hot start, he also hopes for a state team title.
“Last year, I wasn’t as mentally strong,” Roseth said. “This year, being a senior, I just told myself I need to stay positive.”
Roseth’s strong play against opponents like Young ‘‘has given not just himself a great deal of confidence but the whole team that we can bet on him winning a majority of his matches,” Tatge said. “It’s making us want to give it our all and try to get points like he’s getting for the team this year.”
Mike Hendrickson is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.