Steamboat tennis splits with rivals Aspen, Vail |

Steamboat tennis splits with rivals Aspen, Vail

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis team earned a split Tuesday in an important set of matches that represented the end of the team's home schedule.

The Sailors lost to Aspen 2-5 early in the afternoon then bounced back to beat Vail Mountain 5-2 in the evening.

Steamboat came away with two teams that were undefeated on the day — the No. 1 doubles team of John Hannaway and Luke Borgerding and the No. 3 doubles team with Will Coon and Bridger Boyd.

"It just feels good to beat our rivals," Boyd said. "It was really rewarding to come out on top."

The wins are an important step for those doubles teams as it sets them up well for the regional tournament, looming early next month in Grand Junction. The wins against Aspen, the reigning regional champ that returned much of its team from a year ago, give Steamboat's No. 1 and No. 3 doubles team an inside path to the No. 1 seed at regionals.

Being ranked well at regionals sets the team up well to qualify for the state championship tournament.

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They had to dig deep for those wins.

Hannahway and Borgerding pulled their Aspen match out 6-3, 6-1. Later, they beat a pair from Vail 6-3, 6-3.

"They have bought into doubles strategy big time," Steamboat coach Joseph O'Dell said. "They're really aggressive. They love to come to net. That's really big because that puts a lot of pressure on people. They're buying into a lot of what we're talking about in practice."

Coon and Boyd won against Aspen, 6-4, 2-6, 10-3. They then won their Vail match 6-2, 6-3.

"As a team, we clicked on some points," Boyd said.

"We feel pretty good right now," Coon added. "We feel like we have a spot at state because we've beaten all the teams we need to beat to get there. … We're just punishing the ball right now."

Steamboat had tight matches like that throughout the day, and against Vail, it managed to get the win in most of them.

No. 2 singles player Wyatt Stempel didn't win his Aspen match but came close, falling 6-4, 7-6 (4). He played another tight match against Vail but won this one by hanging on in a wild tiebreaker that decided the first set. He survived multiple set-point situations to eventually win, 7-6 (13). He then cruised in the second set, 6-2.

The Sailors got still another tight win at No. 1 singles. Ethan Paulus won the first set against Vail, 6-1, then lost the second, 1-6, before winning the tiebreaker, 10-7.

The team won yet another tight tiebreaker at No. 2 doubles. Gabe Rabanal and Kyle Nillson won against Vail, 4-6, 6-4, 10-4.

Elsewhere, Roy Lundeen lost against Vail at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-4. Barret Taylor and Brayden MacDougal lost at No. 4 doubles, 6-1, 6-4.

Next up for the squad is a trip Saturday to play at Grand Junction.

"We have a young team, really inexperienced, but they're working really hard in practice and they're all responding," O'Dell said. "They're playing amazing, and I'm really happy."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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