Truckee tennis | Boys split against Incline, South Tahoe
The Truckee boys tennis team returned to action last week with mixed results after a week and a half hiatus due to the unhealthy air quality.
In their first match following the break, the Wolverines lost a closely contested heartbreaker in overtime at Incline on Wednesday. The Wolverines recovered to defeat South Tahoe, 10-8, the following day.
Truckee is known for having strong doubles teams and Incline for its strong singles squads. This suggested that a potential split was likely.
“In an effort to prepare for the potential to tie, and not having faced Incline before, we kept one of our doubles players out as a wild card that we could put into a critical spot to force the tie or go for the win,” said Truckee coach Marc Pado.
That’s exactly how the match played out.
Truckee’s doubles teams performed well, winning five out of six matches, despite being rusty. Eli Yale and Brandon Flora and Teagan Pado and Zach Yamauchi swept all three Incline seeds. Jack Feick and Ryan Schildge beat the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, but fell to the Highlanders’ No. 1 team.
In singles action, Incline’s Miles Prim did not give up a single game, nor did Incline’s No. 2 seed, Cole Steinberg. While the individual games were close, Incline clearly was stronger.
Nicky Witty, Incline’s No. 3 seed, did well through two rounds, beating both Kevin Cross and Colin Deurlington. This is where Truckee needed its “wild card,” Ethan Gotts.
Moving into the final round to make up for the one loss in doubles, Gotts forced the match to a tiebreaker with a 6-3 victory over Witty.
Tied 9-9, the starters went back out and played a tiebreaker against their same seed opponents. All three of Truckee’s doubles pairs won, and all three singles lost. Thus, the match defaulted to the team that gave up the least amount of points. Incline gave up 24 points to Truckee’s 29.
“It’s a tough way to lose a match, especially one this close and so hard-fought,” said Truckee coach Rick Deeter. “Our boys did well for their first day holding a racquet in hand for nearly two weeks.”
Thursday’s match against South Tahoe was expected to be close. The two squads had gone to a tiebreaker in their first meeting, in which Truckee edged South Tahoe in the final round.
The Vikings are also strong on the singles side, and since the strategy almost worked to move Gotts from his No. 1 seed in double over to singles, Truckee made the move early, putting Gotts in the starting lineup so that he would be in the rotation in case of another tiebreaker.
Pado teamed up with Jaden Hippler for this match, sweeping the doubles teams 6-3, 6-1, 6-0. There were a few surprises in doubles. Yale and Flora fell short a break against South Tahoe’s No. 1 seeds, Kortge and Petrogullo, 4-6. Yale teamed up with Ryan Schildge in the second round to win 6-3 and then switched back to partner with Flora in the final round to win 6-3.
Cross moved over from singles to partner with Jack Feick, which produced another surprise, as they stepped up to defeat South Tahoe’s No. 1 doubles, but then struggled and fell to the No. 2 team of Demsar and Sullivan. The Truckee doubles side won seven of their nine sets.
Singles was anticipated to be tougher, and it was.
“We did a bit more rotating in the singles sets in order to get everyone into the day’s match,” Deeter said.
Quincy Schram, Cody Tilton and Devon Kim rotated into one of the singles spots throughout the day. Deurlington put up a good fight, but to no avail, falling to the tough singles players Jarrett, Marin and Jarrett (the younger brother) 2-6, 2-6, 3-6, respectively.
Down by two sets, Truckee needed the plan to use Gotts as a singles player to win. He defeated the No. 2 seed 6-2 and the No. 3 seed 6-2. With the entire crowd watching the final set and Truckee needing a win to take the match, Gotts and Jarrett went 6-6 in their set, forcing a tiebreaker.
Both players were consistent in their base-line game, and fatigue was becoming a factor late in the third and final set. Gotts managed to rally his strength with the team loudly supportive from the sidelines to win the tiebreaker 7-2, giving Truckee the overall win at 10-8.
Truckee remains in first place in Northern Nevada with a 5-1 record.
“The league is very close and it may all come down to Thursday’s rematch against Incline at home,” coach Pado said of the 3 p.m. match, which will be contested at the Tahoe Donner Tennis Center. “This will be the final league match and could determine the division champions going into regionals the following week.”