Sailors sweep Eagles in tennis |

Sailors sweep Eagles in tennis

Steamboat tandems medal in state doubles brackets

— Steamboat Springs high school tennis players were all smiles Saturday morning at Pueblo City Park after the Sailors swept past Broomfield to win a pair of doubles matches on the final day of the 2008 State 4A High School Tennis Championships.

“It was huge. It was big, and it was long,” Steamboat Springs senior Charlie Smith said of his team’s first-set tiebreaker with a Broomfield duo. Following the match, Smith and teammate Jack Burger agreed that tiebreaker was the turning point in the tightest of two matches for the Sailors.

“We had too many chances to finish : If we would have lost that tiebreaker, it would have been bad,” Smith said.

But Steamboat didn’t, and the Sailors No.1 doubles team went on to claim the third-place medal in three sets, 7-6 (9), 6-4 and 6-2.

“We were pumped in the second set,” Burger said. “But we made way too many errors, and we were not consistent enough.”

The Steamboat pair trailed Broomfield 4-1 in the second set before mounting a late comeback.

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But Broomfield’s Ken Lynch and Mike McShane closed the door on the set before Steamboat could get back through. In the third, set a more focused Steamboat team came out firing and built a 4-0 lead before giving up a set.

“We had way more intensity and that was the difference,” Burger said.

One court away, Steamboat’s No. 4 doubles team was making quick work of Broomfield’s Greg Dery and Mitch Kusick, 6-3, 6-2. Strong serving from Erik Sortland and overpowering play at the net by Vladan Chase proved to be the difference in the match.

“Erik’s serve was on in that match,” Chase said following the win. “It was so strong at the end, and that’s what we needed to put them away.”

Sortland praised Chase’s strong play at the net, and the team’s solid play all week.

“Today Vladan really stepped into a leadership role for that team,” coach John Aragon said. “It was great to see.”

Aragon felt like Steamboat had the talent to finish higher in the team standings, but just couldn’t land the shots it needed in a few key matches during the first two days of the tournament.

“We lost some tough matches, but this was a great learning experience,” the coach said. “This was one of the most even state tournaments in terms of talent that I’ve ever seen.”

Kent Denver won the team title after battling back from 13 points down on the final day to edge Cheyenne Mountain. The tournament came down to the final match of the day, between Kent Denver’s Frazier Cavness and Cheyenne Mountain’s Michael Cutter.

Cavness won the match, 6-7 (5), 6-4 and 6-1, to earn the title at No. 3 singles and boost the Sun Devils to the state team title. Kent Denver finished with 70 points, Cheyenne Mountain was second at 69 points and Broomfield was third with 47.

Mullen came in fourth at 23 and Steamboat picked up four points on the final day to finish fifth with 15 points, just ahead of Niwot.

“It was a great week,” Chase said after his match. “It was a lot of fun.”