Steamboat’s No. 1 doubles team continues to dominate under pressure
After traveling around the state for a few weeks, Steamboat tennis finally stayed home for a weekend with matches against Ponderosa and Rocky Mountain at the Steamboat Tennis and Pickleball Center on Friday Sept. 16, and Saturday Sept. 17.
Both opponents compete in class 5A compared to Steamboat’s 4A level, and though the Sailors lost both matches 6-1, head coach Jason Scicchitano saw great improvement from the boys.
“I always love inviting the 5A teams up here because it makes us step up to a different level,” Scicchitano said. “I saw both days, every single one of our players broke through their limits and played at a higher level. The experience is invaluable.”
In both matches, Steamboat’s lone victory came from the No. 1 doubles team of senior JP Carter and sophomore Wiley Cotter. Each match went into a tie breaker with the Sailors coming out on top both times and displaying the ability to thrive under pressure.
Carter believed there were benefits of playing at home and said it was just a more comfortable feeling.
“It’s really nice having the home court advantage because most players in the state play outside and we practice inside so you get a feel of the courts and there’s no wind. You’re just completely used to it,” Carter said.
After dropping the first set, 6-3 in favor of Rocky Mountain on Saturday, both Carter and Cotter remained confident they would make a comeback.
Their 6-4 second set victory drew a crowd of both Steamboat and Rocky Mountain fans to the court as they began the tie breaker played to 10. A few precision shots by both Carter and Cotter put the Sailors in the driver’s seat as they worked their way to a 10-8 victory.
The boys highlighted the importance of keeping the adrenaline high and not cracking under pressure. They flourish when the stakes are highest.
“When we get these good teams to play, it helps us motivate ourselves and if we come out with the win, we come out even better at the next match,” Cotter said.
With only a few matches left to play in the season, the doubles team hopes to build off its success and keep improving before the regional tournament.
The Sailors have a 10-day break before heading to Vail on Sept. 27, for matches against Vail and Aspen. Scicchitano is confident the experience gained in the home matches will show moving forward.
Having friends and family around was a huge motivator for the boys and acted as a reset to get their minds right for the end of the season push.
“We had a lot more spectators from their classmates, the school and parents who can’t normally make it,” Scicchitano said. “I know it’s important to them that we have at least a few home games. We love playing at home, it’s a shame we can’t do it more often. It was exciting, I think the atmosphere helped charge their games.”
Ponderosa 6, Steamboat Springs 1
Singles: 1. Ponderosa def. Liam Siefken, SS, 6-0, 6-0. 2. Ponderosa def. Caleb Grommeck, SS, 6-0, 6-2. 3. Ponderosa def. Eli Ince, SS, 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles: 1. JP Carter and Wiley Cotter, SS, def. Ponderosa 3-6, 6-1, 10-8. 2. Ponderosa def. Fisher St. John and Bryce Watson, SS, 6-0, 6-2. 3. Ponderosa def. Matthew MacEntee and Damien Dobson, SS, 6-1, 6-2. 4. Ponderosa def. Hank Ince and Dante Abraham, SS, 6-0, 6-0.
Rocky Mountain 6, Steamboat Springs 1
Singles: 1. Rocky Mountain def. Liam Siefken, SS, 6-3, 6-1. 2. Rocky Mountain def. Caleb Grommeck, SS, 6-2, 6-2. 3. Rocky Mountain def. Eli Ince, SS, 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles: 1. JP Carter and Wiley Cotter, SS, def. Rocky Mountain, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. 2. Rocky Mountain def. Fisher St. John and Bryce Watson, SS, 6-2, 6-1. 3. Rocky Mountain def. Matthew MacEntee and Damien Dobson, SS, 6-1, 6-2. 4. Rocky Mountain def. Hank Ince and Dante Abraham, SS, 6-0, 6-0.
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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