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South Whidbey tennis team plays a mixed bag
In spite of some unforeseen trouble, the South Whidbey boys best six tennis players played several good matches in last week's District 1 tournament.
Unfortunately, good was not quite good enough as the players missed their chance to advance to state play in the Friday-Saturday event.
The six players -- Michael Berry, captain, Bryan Wilson, Bill Schneeman, Steven Pan, Tim Klopfenstein and Kai Fleming-Snow -- faced formidable competition during the season's last tournament, as well as injuries and illness.
The Falcons' top doubles team of Berry and Wilson went into the tournament as favorites, having gone unbeaten as a pairing all season. But Berry played with a low back injury and Wilson was sick with the flu, making them unable to perform at the level they'd been at all season. Though they beat a team from Klahowya 6-3, 6-0 and one from Steilacoom 6-4, 7-5 on Friday, the second day of play was not so kind.
"Bryan and I played well on Friday," Berry said. "On Saturday, we weren't able to play our game."
In their third match, a semi-final against Foster, the South Whidbey boys struggled and lost 4-6, 5-7 to a team that won the district and placed third in the state last year. In their final match of the tournament, Berry and Wilson played the longest match possible, losing two tiebreakers and the match against a Blaine team 7-6, 6-7, 6-7.
South Whidbey coach Tom Kramer said the loss was especially disappointing, since Wilson and Berry defeated the Blaine pairing during the regular season.
"Mike and Bryan were one of the tournament favorites and one of the best teams participating," Kramer said. "But the flu bug and injuries kept them from performing at the level we were used to seeing from them all season."
The singles matchups were more successful for South Whidbey. Junior Kai Fleming-Snow and sophomore Tim Klopfenstein both did well in the double elimination tournament.
Fleming-Snow defeated three of five opponents, one each from Chimacum (3-6, 6-1, 6-2), Blaine (6-4, 6-4) and Steilacoom (7-5, 6-4). He lost to a Vashon player 0-6, 0-6 and an Eatonville player 5-7, 4-6.
"Kai had a very good tournament, winning three and losing two," Kramer said. "He saved his best tennis of the year for this tournament."
Fleming-Snow said he beat the people he expected to; unfortunately, the player from Vashon was not one of them.
The Falcons' No. 1 singles player, sophomore Tim Klopfenstein, defeated two of his five opponents with one default.
"Like Kai, Tim saved his best tennis for this tournament, finding the consistency and the right shot selection to be successful at this level of play," Kramer said. "He handled the pressure well and this performance is a base for improvements next year."
South Whidbey's second doubles team of Bill Schneeman and Steven Pan lost to Vashon 0-6, 3-6, won against Chimacum 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, then exited the tournament on a 1-6, 3-6 loss to Eatonville.
"Bill and Steven struggled in the tournament," Kramer said.