Steamboat Springs boys tennis playing their best ahead of regionals
The Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis team has hit the point in its season when they should be going out there to play their game and have some fun.
“We’ve leaned on them and put pressure and made them work as hard as they can work, and we’ve got to get to a point in time where they know how to play tennis and just have fun,” head coach Bill Conway said. “The only way I can get them to lighten up enough and think that way is we have to change the mindset of what this match is.”
Conway told them to consider Saturday’s matches as practice. The contests against Ponderosa and Kent Denver won’t change anything about regionals, so the Sailors were told to go out and let it rip.
“They did it,” Conway said. “Honestly, everybody played better. That’s where we are. We’re coming into regionals. You’re not going to learn anything new this late in the season. Let’s just take what we got and let’s go.”
Most of the matches ended in losses, but they were competitive and definitely fun. Steamboat lost 5-2 to Ponderosa in the morning and 7-0 to Kent Denver in the afternoon. Three of the morning matches went to a tie breaker.
In the No. 1 doubles spot, junior Xander Dalke and freshman Liam Siefken showed the Sailors fans a good time. The pair won the first set 6-2 but fell quickly in set two, 6-1, so they went to a 10-point tiebreaker.
“This is the first time there wasn’t divisiveness in a matter of what am I doing wrong,” Conway said. “It was neat to see them actually be a team and play hard. The stuff we’re working on definitely showed up.”
Ponderosa’s Charlie Ashcroft and Adyn Lonergan took a 6-1 lead and soon were on the brink of victory at 9-4. Dalke and Siefken weren’t ready to give up, though.
“It’s about taking it one point at a time. If you look at it like, ‘We got to win seven in a row just to stay in this match,’ that’s a lot,” Dalke said. “But if you look at it like, ‘OK let’s win this next point’ and then, let’s win the next one after that. That’s how to do it.”
Siefken said he takes a breath, then moves to the next point, then the next point.
With that mindset, they scored one point at a time seven times in a row, winning the tiebreaker 11-9.
“We had good serves; our net game was really good,” Siefken said. “Which has happened before as well.”
The No. 3 doubles team of Eli Ince and Caleb Groemmeck also won via an exciting tiebreaker, 10-6. The No. 4 team went to a 10-point tiebreaker as well, but lost.
Later in the day, Steamboat took on arguably the best team in the state, Kent Denver. The Sailors lost 7-0, but Conway said it was the best he’s seen his team play.
Next, the team competes in regionals Thursday and Friday.
“If we play like we played today, we got a good shot,” Dalke said.
Ponderosa 5, Steamboat Springs 2
Singles: 1. Matt Hossack, P, def. Nash Whittington, SS, 6-1, 6-1. 2. Brody Smith, P, def. Gabe Gray, SS, 6-4, 6-2. 3. Presten Garner, P, def. Beck Myklusch 6-2, 6-4.
Doubles: 1. Xander Dalke and Liam Siefken, SS, def. Charlie Ashcroft and Adyn Lonergan, P, 6-2, 1-6, 11-9. 2. Ponderosa win by forfeit. 3. Eli Ince and Caleb Groemmeck, SS, def. Peyton Donahue and Wyatt Bradfield, P, 6-4, 4-6, 10-6. 4. Jace Friend and Max Dyer, P, def. Michael Lake and Fisher St. John, SS, 2-6, 6-3, 3-10.
Kent Denver 7, Steamboat Springs 0
Singles: 1. Nathan Gold, KD, def. Nash Whittington, SS, 6-1, 6-0. 2. Will M., KD, def. Gabe Gray, SS, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. 1. 3. Henry Johnson, KD, def. Beck Myklusch, SS, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles: 1. Kent Denver def. Xander Dalke and Liam Siefken 6-1, 6-2. 2. Kent Denver win by forfeit. 3. Kent Denver def. Eli Ince and Caleb Groemmeck 6-1, 6-1. 4. Kent Denver def. Michael Lake and Fisher St. John 6-0, 6-0.
Aug. 19 - at Central Grand Junction
Aug. 20-21 - at Fruita Monument
Aug. 27 - at Loveland, 2nd
Sept. 9 - at Durango, Steamboat Springs 4, Durango 3 and Steamboat Springs 4, Central 3
Sept. 10-11 - at Grand Junction
Sept. 18 - vs. Rocky Mountain, L 7-0
Sept. 25 - at Aspen Triangular
Oct. 2 - vs. Kent Denver, L 5-2
vs. Ponderosa, L 7-0
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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