Sports

Total team effort overcomes Seahawks and Cubs

Falcon Jon Adams works on perfecting his volley skills Thursday as his team gets ready for the Mount Vernon Bulldogs. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Falcon Jon Adams works on perfecting his volley skills Thursday as his team gets ready for the Mount Vernon Bulldogs.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

LANGLEY — The South Whidbey boys tennis team served up a cold dish of hot tennis to a couple of its key Northwest Conference opponents this week.

Neither the Anacortes Seahawks nor Sedro Woolley Cubs were able to mount any kind of realistic offense in singles or doubles play.

On Sept. 8, the boys opened their season at home with a blowout performance over the Seahawks by the varsity team.

Riley Newman easily won his match 6-0, 6-0; second singles player Van Morgen went 6-1, 6-1; Jon Adams overcame his opponent 6-3, 6-1; Jake Ewing won 6-2, 6-2 and Harrison Price made it a sweep with 6-0, 6-2.

In doubles action, Grant Neubauer and Zach Comfort won 7-6, 6-3 after a 10-point tie breaker; Ben Snow and Trevor Hein beat their pair 7-6, 6-1, Jonah Jolley and Eric Vanderbilt won 7-5, 6-1 and Evan Mattens and Brendon Riley triumphed 6-2, 6-3.

Adams was pleased to begin his year with victories, but was realistic over the outcome.

“Yeah, I won but it wasn’t as hard as it could have been,” he said. “They were having some eligibility problems and not all their good players showed up.”

Adams, a pitcher on the Falcon baseball team in the spring, has had a steep mental learning curve over the past two years.

“My passion is baseball but I’ve come to realize tennis can be just as challenging,” Adams said. “Today, I’m trying to get a more consistent ground stroke game and finish up my volleys so that I’m hitting them to be winners.”

Falcon coach Tom Kramer wasn’t about to let the guys rest on their laurels.

“This was a good first match,” Kramer said about Anacortes. “A lot of early errors plagued both teams. We played well for the first match, but we need to improve rapidly to stay competitive.”

Kramer admitted that Anacortes was missing some key people, which accounted for the lopsided results.

On Wednesday, the team traveled to Sedro Woolley and dominated the Cubs on their courts.

Newman, Morgen, Adams and Ewing all handily beat their opponents.

For the doubles, Neubauer and Comfort, Snow and Hein, and Jolley and Vanderbilt all won.

However, two smashing victories do not a season make, as the coach was quick to point out.

“Sedro Wooley is in a rebuilding year and one of their top players was ineligible so the match was somewhat one-sided,” Kramer said. “We played well at times, but too often played sloppy points, points that would hurt us against a more veteran team. It is obvious we still have weaknesses to overcome.”

For his part, Neubauer is glad tennis is in the fall.

“I’d have a hard decision between this and soccer,” he said. “Both sports are incredibly different and each has its attractions.”

Neubauer plays doubles because he likes working with others on the court.

“The dynamics of playing with a partner, like Zach [Comfort], can be liberating,” he said. “We talk briefly after every point and that helps me to focus. I’m better up close to the net because I have quick hands and can take the shot away from my opponent.”

The coach noted the competition will ramp up dramatically at the end of the week with Mount Vernon on Friday.

“That match should be much more difficult,” Kramer said.

Three of South Whidbey’s fiercest opponents are on the docket next week, including Burlington on Wednesday, Oct. 17 on the Falcon’s home courts, braced by away matches at Lynden and Sehome.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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