Brookfield Central stuck to the script at the WIAA State Team Tennis Championship on June 10 and 11, defeating Waukesha South, 6-1, for coach Dave Steinbach's record-setting 500 boys wins.
But then Central lost to Neenah, the second best team in the tourney, 6-1, to see their successful season come to an end.
The parents and the team made a big deal out of Steinbach's 500th boys win, which the veteran coach appreciated.
'The parents had a big cake decorated,' he said. 'It made it very special. The kids felt it was really special. They felt really proud.'
Steinbach said he tries to teach his student-athletes about life as well as tennis.
'That's the most important thing,' he said. 'You can have good strokes, good mechanics, but you don't have time to change it during the season. Most of what you coach is above the neck and below the ankles. Every shot they need to make a decision on. Every point, every game, every set and every match. How do they handle success or failures?
'How you determine success or failure, that's the beauty of tennis. In life, if the worst thing that happens to you is losing a tennis match, you have not lived much of a life.'
In the win over Waukesha South, Steinbach defeated his former student, Dan Schreier, who coaches the Blackshirts.
Schreier, a 2004 Brookfield Central graduate, praised his old coach.
'He is a legend as far as Wisconsin high school tennis is concerned, as far as high school tennis in the nation,' Schreier told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
A member of the Lancer team that went to state team tennis his junior and senior years, Schreier said playing for Steinbach was 'an honor. It put me in a number of good places as a human being. Coaching against him is fun.'
On Friday night at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, tennis was certainly fun for the Lancers, who prevailed over the Blackshirts, 6-1.
Senior Josh Fernandez defeated junior Jon Arvedson (6-2, 7-5) in Flight 1, sophomore Brandon Beihoff beat junior Zach Buehler (6-3, 6-0) in Flight 3 and junior Mark Crowder defeated senior Zach Pittz (6-4, 6-3) in Flight 4, as Central won three of four singles matches.
In Flight 2, junior Riley Teutschmann beat junior Tom Foley (6-3, 6-1) for South's only victory.
On the doubles side, the Lancers swept all three matches.
Seniors Henry Mirsberger/Carlos Flores-Komatsu beat seniors Ben Graichen/Hunter Louis (6-1, 6-0) in Flight 1.
Flight 2 saw seniors Gunther Treis/Sam Schreiner beat seniors Dustin Schurrer/Michael Tang (6-0, 6-1).
Finally, seniors Ben Peterson/Saad Khan beat juniors Tyler Hipp/Tommy Ebben (6-2, 6-1) in Flight 3.
Before the weekend, Steinbach had said if he was seeding the tournament, Neenah would be seeded second behind eventual champion Marquette. That's the way it turned out, as the powerful Hilltoppers handled the Rockets, 6-1, in the finals.
Neenah got by the Lancers, 6-1, on Saturday morning, as Beihoff earned Central's only win in Flight 3, beating junior Brett Bureau (6-2, 6-2).
Fernandez lost (6-1, 6-1) to senior Ryan Risgaard in Flight 1, Foley lost (6-2, 3-0, default) to junior Jackson Atassi in Flight 2 and Crowder lost a tough match (4-6, 6-0, 6-4) in Flight 4 to freshman Jared Laawatsch.
On the doubles side, senior Alan Desai/junior Grant Mauthe beat Mirsberger/Flores Komatsu (6-2, 6-0) in Flight 1.
In Flight 2, junior Carter Brown/sophomore Kyler Kappes beat Treis/Schreiner in a thriller (6-4, 7-6(3).
Senior Joe Beran/sophomore Graham Werner battled Peterson/Khan to the wire (2-6, 7-5, 6-2) in Flight 3.
Steinbach touched on some of the close matches his team lost against Neenah.
'It represented the effort they put in and the focus they had,' he said of his team. 'Neenah was the better team; they had better players. They were not better people.'