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Road trip ends in split for Falcon boys tennis
South Whidbey split its matches against Burlington-Edison and Friday Harbor on the road last week.
The Falcons lost to the Burlington-Edison Tigers 1-6 on Wednesday. Then they had a short turnaround before defeating the Friday Harbor Wolverines 3-2 in a shortened match on Thursday.
Karyle Kramer, South Whidbey’s first-year head coach, inherited a team without any seniors and one that lost its top three singles players and top doubles team. As a result, she has changed the lineup and pairings every week to see where her team best plays.
“I believe that all players should learn and have the opportunity to play both singles and doubles,” Kramer said.
“Players complement one another differently in doubles, so I’m also trying to give them different partners when possible. Besides, we’re too young to specialize - most of them just need to develop their games.”
The match against Friday Harbor gave Kramer and the Falcons a good opportunity for experimentation. South Whidbey’s junior co-captain Guy Sparkman returned to first singles after playing doubles the past few matches and defeated Friday Harbor’s Hayden Place, 6-1, 6-0.
Charley Stelling, a Falcon freshman, lost his first singles match to the Wolverines’ usual number one singles player Parker Satin. He lost the first set to Satin, 4-6.
During the set break, he met with Falcons tennis head coach Karyle Kramer for advice.
“At break we discussed two simple strategy changes and Charley followed them to a T,” Kramer said.
Stelling won the next set 6-0. He led in the final set but Satin’s experience aided him to recover and beat Stelling 6-4.
“That’s one of the challenging aspects of the game, how to close the set and continue playing the game that got you ahead in the first place,” Kramer said. “And the coach can’t call a timeout to remind you of that.”
“I think he’ll actually learn from it more because he lost,” she added.
A recent addition to the Falcons is Taylor Simmons, a junior who played on varsity last year. He played his first match of the season against Friday Harbor, and the late start showed in a 1-7, 5-7 loss to Sandro Meyer.
“Taylor was too inconsistent in his first set and lost quickly,” Kramer said. “In the second set he applied a better strategy and had a lead but couldn’t finish the set.”
The modified match did not have fourth singles, third doubles or fourth doubles.
South Whidbey’s first two doubles teams won.
Hayden Nichols and Jack Hood paired together for first singles and won in three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Chase Collins and Jonathon Peterson defeated Wolverines Aaron Prager and Cody Coyne, 6-2, 6-0.
Two doubles exhibition matches were played in shortened sets because of time constraints related to catching the ferry. South Whidbey won both sets.
Earlier last week, the Falcons fell 1-6 against the Tigers.
The lone victory came from Sparkman and Stelling at first doubles. They defeated Austin Mohler and Jansen Vandermuelen 6-2, 6-4. It was the third time Sparkman and Stelling played doubles together this year.
Falcon junior Cameron Baldwin lost to Walker Olis 0-6, 0-6 in first singles. Kyle Simchuk, South Whidbey junior co-captain, lost to Rob Wortham 6-2, 6-3 in his first match playing singles.
“He lost several deuce games,” Kramer said. “He was definitely in it.”
The Tigers’ third singles player Nick Granberg defeated South Whidbey junior Chase Collins, 6-3, 6-0. It was Collins’ first time playing singles.
South Whidbey freshman Jonathon Peterson lost to Tigers senior Eric Schenk, 4-6, 4-6.
“Jonathon displayed excellent composure - a good sign of progress for the freshman,” Kramer said. “That was a breakthrough match for Jonathon, even though he lost.”
South Whidbey’s second and third doubles teams lost. Nichols and Hood fell to Connor Saben and Jack Kamps, 6-0, 6-1. Noah Frank and Nathan Riley, both Falcons freshmen, lost to Nick Edson and Kevin Eubanks, 5-7, 1-6.
South Whidbey traveled north to Coupeville on Tuesday, then hosts Friday Harbor on Thursday.