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Lineup moves work for Falcon boys tennis
A long trip to South Whidbey yielded little return for the Friday Harbor boys tennis team.
The Falcons won 5-2, though the Wolverines’ short-staffed team officially forfeited the match because it only had seven players, and a full team requires 10. Friday Harbor forfeited fourth singles and third doubles.
Falcon junior Guy Sparkman, again playing first singles, won in two sets and a 10-point tiebreaker third set.
Time constraints led the teams to play a shortened third set, if needed. Sparkman defeated Hayden Place 4-6, 6-1, 10-2. Place showed improvement from his previous loss against Sparkman, 1-6, 0-6.
“Hayden came out stronger and more consistent this time,” said Falcon head coach Karyle Kramer. “I think it took Guy a while to settle down but once he did he took care of business.”
South Whidbey’s second and third singles, both freshmen, played higher than previous assignments. Noah Frank, formerly fourth singles, lost to Parker Satin 6-7 (5-7 tiebreaker game), 0-6.
“Noah had a mental letdown after losing the first set tiebreaker and then never got back in the match,” Kramer said.
Charley Stelling lost the third singles match to Sandra Meyer 6-7 (2-7), 4-6.
At the beginning of the season, Stelling played doubles and has since played at second and third singles, and also played first doubles with Sparkman.
“Win or lose, he always learns from his matches,” Kramer said. “He’s gaining valuable experience.”
A pair of juniors joined for their first match at first doubles. Taylor Simmons returned to the tennis team after missing the first three weeks and paired with Hayden Nichols to defeat Ryan Cole and Sean Hillis, 7-5, 7-6 (7-1).
“Hayden and Taylor performed under pressure and found their shots when they needed them,” Kramer said. “Hayden has consistently performed as one of our top doubles players throughout the season.”
Another duo of juniors won second doubles. Co-captain Kyle Simchuk and Cameron Baldwin beat Aaron Prager and Cody Coyne, 6-2, 6-0.
South Whidbey is 5-4 overall this season. The Falcons travel to play one of the district’s best teams in Bellingham on Monday.
A recently added match against Coupeville on Thursday will be South Whidbey’s last home match.
Kramer elected to vary the lineup to better evaluate a team of mostly new varsity players. She said it has allowed her to see their strengths and weaknesses, while also working to improve their skills and make the Falcons more “versatile.”
The experiment will end in a few weeks, as the district tournament approaches. South Whidbey is allotted three singles players and three doubles teams.
“We’re getting close to knowing who they’ll be,” Kramer said.
Friday Harbor’s team agreed to play more matches in exhibition against South Whidbey’s junior varsity players.
Jack Hood and Jonathon Peterson won a pro-set 8-1. Chase Collins and Nathan Riley lost 2-8. Trent Fallon and Austin Drake lost 4-8.