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Steamboat tennis team handles Denver East

Melinda Mawdsley

— Before the tennis season started, Steamboat Springs High School senior Jonathan Solomon predicted the success of this year’s boys tennis team would rest on the play of its doubles teams.

If he is right and the rest of the season resembles Tuesday, then the Sailors will be a difficult team to beat, particularly in the Western half of the state.

All four doubles teams won in straight sets, helping lift Steamboat to a 6-1 win against Denver East on Tuesday in Denver.

“Everybody played well,” Sailors coach John Aragon said. “Our kids were serving and volleying. Doubles need to be more aggressive down the road, but overall we played well.”

Solomon teamed with fellow senior Patrick Ayres to defeat Jules Perryman and Blake Larson, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 1 doubles. Their match was the closest of the seven total matches between Steamboat and Denver East.

Brian Aragon and Jon Reese defeated Michael Wilkerson and Tom Ottogalli, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 2 doubles. The Sailors’ No. 3 doubles team of Nick Ludolph and Jesse Schaller beat Jeff Engelken and Russ Melhzer, 6-1, 6-4. Steamboat’s No. 4 doubles team of Dylan Roberts and Brian Behrman competed the doubles sweep, defeating Tyler McNamara and Matt Duerksen, 6-0, 6-4.

“The depth we have in our doubles will determine our success,” Aragon said.

On the singles side, junior Taylor Reed and freshman Ramsey Bernard showed no nervousness in their first matches as single players for the Sailors. Reed played doubles last year for Steamboat. He was filling in at No. 2 singles for Solomon who is bothered by a sore shoulder.

Reed defeated Chris Hall, 6-0, 6-2 and Bernard beat Taylor Erickson, 6-3, 6-1 to add to

Steamboat’s win totals.

The only Sailors’ player who lost in the season opener was No. 1 singles player Walker Loetscher, who fell to Paul Koenke, 6-1, 6-0.

Koenke placed fourth as a freshman and just returned this season after spending his sophomore and junior seasons at a tennis academy.

“Ramsey went out and beat a real good player,” Aragon said. “Taylor filled in and played extremely well. Walker played well. The kid he played could hit the ball wherever he wanted and as hard as he wanted. Walker didn’t give up. I was pleased with him staying in there and playing points.”

Challenge matches determined Tuesday’s lineup in Denver. Aragon doesn’t anticipate the lineup shaking up much. The only lineup changes may come once Solomon heals up and if a junior varsity doubles team can upend a varsity doubles team, but Steamboat cannot move players down after five matches and one is already in the books.

The Sailors are scheduled to resume play at 4 p.m. Sept. 9 against Fruita-Monument in Fruita.

–To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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