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Pleasant Valley's boys tennis team has been the king of the hill in the Mississippi Athletic Conference the past four seasons.

Bettendorf appears ready to dethrone its rival.

With the conference tournament just more than a week out, the Bulldogs knocked off the Spartans in a dual for the first time since any of the current players have been in the program.

Powered by four singles victories, Class 2A fifth-ranked Bettendorf upended fourth-ranked and a short-handed PV squad 6-3 Tuesday afternoon at the Bettendorf High School tennis facility.

"This (dual) is definitely always the first thing we look for on the schedule each year," Bettendorf senior Isaac Luebke said. "It is the biggest meet of the year.

"The MAC isn't the strongest in general, but when we play PV, it is all about pride. It has been frustrating the last three years losing to them, so it is great to finally come out on top."

Bettendorf coach Matt Edwards understands this is just a small step in the grand scheme. The teams will clash again at the conference tournament and could meet in team substate competition next month with more at stake.

Still, it gives Bettendorf (8-0) bragging rights for at least a week. The Bulldogs had won 62 of 63 matches in their first seven duals.

"We'll get some confidence out of it," junior Jacob Panjwani said.

Bettendorf received straight-set singles wins from Panjwani at No. 3 and Jozef Porubcin at No. 5. Senior Michael Pyevich dropped the opening set at No. 4, but battled back to beat Vincent Gnad in a super tiebreaker.

"Great grit, great comeback from Mikey," Edwards said. "He's a senior and hasn't beaten PV in three years. He knows what's on the line."

The dual could have gone into doubles knotted at three, but Bettendorf also earned a point at No. 2 after PV's Justin Sehlin had to default.

Yash Singh and Sehlin were tied at 4 in the opening set when Sehlin injured his ankle on a forehand attempt.

Even after a timeout and medical attention, Sehlin could not continue. He spent the remainder of the dual spectating on crutches.

"It was very unfortunate," Singh said. "We've played in the past and had some long battles. I was expecting another one today."

The Spartans already were without one starter in Aditya Subramaniam, who was home sick. Sehlin's departure required PV to juggle its doubles lineup.

As a result, Bettendorf capitalized. Luebke and Singh clinched the dual with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 1 doubles over Sriram Sugumaran and CJ Roethler, one of PV's top junior varsity players.

"This is definitely one of the strongest teams we've had in a while," Singh said. "We've trained all offseason at the (Quad-City Tennis Club). We have great chemistry already built in. It is just coming together right now."

The loss was PV's first to a conference foe in at least four years. That didn't weigh on Sugumaran's mind too much afterward.

"We have a lot of wins under our belt," he said. "Bettendorf is a great team this year. We can take a lot from this. Hopefully, our guys felt they played as well as they could."

Edwards labeled this a measuring stick week for his program. The Bulldogs turn around and face third-ranked Linn-Mar on Friday at home.

Then after playing at the Clinton Invitational on Saturday, they'll attempt to unseat PV at the conference tournament.

"Any time we can beat a PV team, we know we're doing something right," Edwards said. "It is a great confidence booster for us."


Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.