Steamboat tennis No. 1 doubles team sails to state tournament
A season of pure dominance on the court, Steamboat Springs tennis No. 1 doubles duo of senior JP Carter and sophomore Wiley Cotter are heading to Pueblo for the state tournament.
The pair began playing together for the first time at the start of this season and it did not take long for them to build a strong connection on the court. Their synergy would go on to propel them past nearly every opponent they faced.
“We had to take it easy and make sure we had fun with it for the first few games,” Cotter said. “We started to get more serious as we started winning most of the games.”
As a team, Carter and Cotter have won 10 of 12 matches this season, including three in the regional tournament.
The duo defeated Grand Junction Central and Palmer Ridge on Thursday, Oct. 6, advancing to the regional championship against Grand Junction the following morning.
An opening set filled with broken serves for both teams, Carter and Cotter were able to take the tiebreaker with some big late points at the net, 7-3.
A 6-1 loss in the second set did not discourage the Sailors as they quickly took a 5-0 lead in the deciding set. A few mental errors let Grand Junction storm back to tie it at five apiece but the Sailors regrouped, broke and held the final two games with Carter closing out the 7-5 set victory with a smash.
“We had enough, we were going to put an end to it,” Carter said. “We ended up pushing through everything, stopping their momentum and coming out with a 7-5 victory in the tiebreak.”
The victory sends both Carter and Cotter to compete in the state tournament in Pueblo on Oct. 13 and 14. Their first match will be against Dawson High School on Oct. 13.
Cotter’s goal at the start of the season was to win regionals, and now that he has accomplished it, he hopes to fight hard at state to give Carter the best possible finish to his high school tennis career.
“There’s always going to be nerves but we are definitely more excited than nervous to play at state and to hopefully come out with a victory and bring that home to Steamboat,” Carter said.
Head coach Jason Scicchitano is proud of the work both Cotter and Carter put in this season to get to this point. He says Cotter has become “a beast” at the net and Carter has the unique ability to eliminate the noise and remain calm under pressure.
He sees a path for his players to make a run in the state tournament.
“I want to see them play their best and really focus, stay calm and really try and give it their all,” Scicchitano said. “Hopefully they have fun too, especially if that happens I think it will be a lot of fun.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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