Sailors tennis players fall in first round at state |

Sailors tennis players fall in first round at state

Steamboat Springs freshmen Gabe Gray and Xander Dalke are the only Sailors tennis players to compete at the state tournament in Pueblo. On Thursday, Oct. 17, they fell in the first round 6-0, 6-4.
Courtesy Brent Dalke

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After a shaky season, the Steamboat Springs No. 2 doubles pairing of freshman Xander Dalke and Gabe Gray earned a bid to the Colorado 4A boys tennis state meet.

In round one, the Sailors faced off with Louie Martinez and Trevor Niccoli of Pueblo Centennial. Going up against the senior and junior on the state’s greatest stage, the Steamboat freshmen were not quite ready.

“It was pretty much a case of being nervous that first set,” Steamboat Springs head tennis coach Bill Conway said. “It was very quick because of them being underclassmen in that situation. (They) just got really nervous.”

With skidish play and second-guessed decisions, Dalke and Gray fell 6-0 in the first set.

The second was a far better benchmark of their abilities as they fought to a 6-4 loss.

“Their strokes were far more fluid,” Conway said of the second set. “(They had) the body language of being strong on court and looking like they belonged out there. They were moving to the net better, putting their volleys away and had far fewer double faults.”

Their opponent advanced to the second round, falling in straight sets and bumping Steamboat out of the potential playback bracket, sending the Sailors home.

Steamboat Springs tennis schedule

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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