By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – One West High streak continued and another came to an end on Tuesday against cross-town rival City High.
Class 2A top-ranked West High (12-0) stretched its winning streak to 30 consecutive matches with a 7-2 win over City High (5-6, 5-5 MVC) at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.
West High extending its winning streak was expected but one of the two losses for the Trojans on Tuesday provided a surprise.
City High senior Joe Hoff snapped a 60-match winning streak for two-time defending state champion Jiung Jung with a 5-7, 6-4, 10-8 win in a rematch of last year’s state title match.
The by Hoff was his first ever over his close friend and West High rival and came after Jung won all three meetings with Hoff last season including a straight set victory in the 2A title match.
“My record against him is probably now 1-100 instead of 0-101 so it’s a great relief but I’m probably going to face him at least once maybe two more times this year so I can’t get cocky with it,” Hoff said. “It’s going to be the same kind of grind every single time I play him.”
Hoff improved to 11-0 with the win while Jung dropped to 10-1 with his first loss since the state tournament of his freshman season in 2014.
“He kept a lot of balls in and he played the bigger points better, credit to him,” Jung said. “This is a little setback but I guess I will just take it as motivation for next time.”
West High had clinched the match with five singles wins before Hoff and Jung reached the second set of what turned into another classic between two of the best in the state.
Tuesday’s match was a near replay of last year’s regular season meeting between the two number ones, a 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 win by Jung.
This time it was Hoff who came away with the tie breaker victory.
“They are both very fine players and I’m guessing the difference in total points in the match was three at the most,” City High coach Chip Hardesty said. “They are just dead stone evenly matched.”
Jung took the opening set 7-5 but Hoff battled back for a 6-4 win in the second set to force the tiebreaker.
“Knowing that I a few of my shots weren’t going the way that I wanted the first set, it definitely was a big relief when I got the second,” Hoff said. “I came out stronger the second set and I was able to adjust a little bit on my forehand and just buckle down on shots.”
Hoff continued to make key shots late as he took the tiebreaker 10-8.
“I think Joe came into today playing different than I expected,” Jung said. “He was playing a little more conservative, not as big as he usually goes and it worked out for him.”
Both Hardesty and Hoff pointed toward an improved backhand as the difference between previous meetings with Jung.
Hoff pointed toward his improved backhand as a means of conserving energy against the methodical Jung. That allowed him to have more in the tank for the tiebreaker than in previous meetings.
Hardesty agreed, the backhand was critical for Hoff to get over the hump against Jung.
“I think Joe’s backhand is much more steady now and that was important for him,” Hardesty said. “You can see that he was getting a lot of balls to his backhand and that side didn’t break down at all in my opinion.”
The two could be set up for two more meetings before the end of the month.
They should meet for a second time at the district meet on May 11 at Cedar Rapids Prairie and could meet again at the state tournament.
“Obviously Joe is a great player and unfortunately for Jiung the story is always going to be when does he lose not that he beats Joe for the fifth or sixth straight time,” West High coach Mitch Gross said. “It’s good to have this in a dual meet rather than the post season.”
The loss by Jung didn’t stop West High from turning in another impressive performance.
Fresh off a week that included 8-1 wins over second-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington and No. 3 Linn-Mar, no West High singles match had a set closer than 6-3 on Tuesday.
West High got singles wins from Cole Schneider, Jack Wenzel, Sam Shin, Brad DiLeo and Sasha Chackalackal while improving to 9-0 in Mississippi Valley Conference play.
“Our team is in a really good spot,” Gross said. “Our matches have been closer than what the meet scores have indicated but I think that shows the character of our team that we have been able to pull off some close wins as well.”
West High 7, City High 2
1. Joe Hoff (ICH) def. Jiung Jung 5-7, 6-4, 10-8
2. Cole Schneider (ICW) def. Diego Paciotto-Biggers 6-0, 6-2
3. Jack Wenzel (ICW) def. Sam Bloom 6-3, 6-0
4. Sam Shin (ICW) def. Mickale Sadecky 6-0, 6-1
5. Brad DiLeo (ICW) def. Jon Albaugh 6-0, 6-0
6. Sasha Chackalackal (ICW) def. Victor Kalil 6-0, 6-1
1. DiLeo/Shin (ICW) def. Paciotto-Biggers/Kalil 6-0, 6-0
2. Eddie Dowling/Sanjeev Sarin (ICW) def. Sadecky/Miles Morrow 6-2, 6-1
3. Sameer Ali/Bloom (C) def. Chirag Jain/Piero Ortiz 6-4, 1-6, 10-8