The word pressure is not in Sean Nguyen’s vocabulary.
However, the 14-year-old freshman tennis sensation uses terms like fun, excitement and opportunity frequently.
Nguyen’s 6-1, 6-1 No. 1 singles victory and his 8-0 No. 1 doubles win with partner Dalton Michael paved the way to a dominating 9-0 Blue Springs South victory over crosstown rival Blue Springs on a drizzly and cold Tuesday afternoon at Baumgarnder Park.
“I really don’t feel any pressure,” the freshman said after the Jaguars improved to 1-0 in the Suburban Big Seven and 2-1 overall. “I see this as a great opportunity. I have played a lot of USTA tennis, and I really am enjoying high school tennis because of my coaches and my teammates.
“And I enjoy playing for my high school. But pressure? No pressure, just a lot of fun and excitement.”
The Jaguars began the afternoon taking all three doubles matches as Brady Dunlap and Wyatt Walker won 8-1 and Patterson Fallis and Lucas Alumbaugh were 8-0 winners.
Dunlap, the No. 2 singles players. won 6-2, 6-0; No. 3 Michael claimed a 6-1, 6-1 victory; Walker walked off the court with a 6-1, 6-0 victory; Patterson Fallis slipped past Dakota Allen 7-5, 6-4; and Spencer Jorgensen won 6-0, 6-2.
“Our team played well today,” veteran South coach Nathan Mooney said. “I couldn’t be any happier. We started off strong in doubles play and continued to play strong through singles.”
When asked about having a freshman at No. 1 singles, the coach had a ready answer.
“He beat everyone on the team – he deserves it,” Mooney said. “He’s young, but he has played a lot of tennis and has a great knowledge of the game. We talked with him and his parents and academics are very important to all of us.
“I’m pleased he told you he enjoys playing for a high school team and that he enjoys the high school atmosphere. All he’s going to do is get better.”
Dunlap, a senior, said topping the Wildcats in such dominating fashion was a great way to start the season.
“It’s our first conference match, and it’s great to get a big win like this,” Dunlap said. “I’m a senior and I don’t get to play them anymore and I really wanted to get a win today.”
While she was not pleased with the outcome, Wildcats coach Mary Humphreys was happy with her team’s never-say-die approach to the match.
“We’re getting where we want to be,” Humphreys said. “We’re working on cutting down on unforced errors and keeping the ball in play. Mental toughness has been a question, and I thought we showed a lot of mental toughness today.
“Blue Springs South is good – real good. They’re what we want to be – they have a lot of depth and are solid one through six on singles and on all three doubles teams. Nathan’s team played great today.”