Sports

Tennis action toughens as Falcons face Sehome, Bellingham

Falcon Van Morgen returns a serve from Bellingham’s Andrew Troutman on Monday. Morgen and teammate Riley Newman won their matches and are looking forward to the rest of the season. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Falcon Van Morgen returns a serve from Bellingham’s Andrew Troutman on Monday. Morgen and teammate Riley Newman won their matches and are looking forward to the rest of the season.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

LANGLEY — When Falcon tennis coach Tom Kramer said before the season began that some schools were tougher than others, he wasn’t kidding.

First came Sehome on Sept. 19; South Whidbey didn’t win a single match, singles or doubles, in the 7-0 loss.

“Obviously Sehome is a very good team,” Kramer said. “My early estimate that they would be the team to beat has not changed. With experience and talent in-depth, they match up well against everyone.”

Falcon Riley Newman lost 4-6, 2-6 to his nemesis Will Topp; 11 months ago Newman was toppled 6-4, 6-4 on his way to state finals, and the feud will continue on Oct. 13 when the Mariners make a return visit.

South Whidbey’s second seed Van Morgen lost 6-7, 4-6; Harrison Price lost 2-6, 0-6 and Zach Comfort lost 0-6, 3-6.

In doubles action, Grant Neubauer and Jon Adams lost 3-6, 2-6, Ben Snow and Jonah Jolley lost 2-6, 0-6 and Jake Ewing and Trevor Hein lost 4-6, 3-6.

“Sehome was tough, they’re fundamentally a strong team and we can’t let our guard down with guys that good,” Adams said.

Next came Bellingham on Monday; though the team lost 5-2, there were some bright spots.

Newman won 2-6, 6-2, 6-4; Morgen won 6-4, 7-5; Price lost 3-6, 5-7 and Comfort lost 2-6, 1-6.

In doubles, Grant Neubauer and Jon Adams lost 3-6, 3-6; Ben Snow and Jonah Jolley lost 3-6, 6-2, 6-7 and Jake Ewing and Trevor Hein lost 3-6, 0-6.

“Overall, play improved over the brutal Sehome match,” Kramer noted. “Riley had a tougher than expected match, but made some key adjustments.

“We’ve changed our lineup a bit, reflecting the team’s needs. Some of the guys have improved, and we want to give younger players a chance. Some fit better or play better in the case of doubles with other partners. New combinations are not always immediately successful, but hopefully in the long term it will be a good move.”

Kramer noted that a bright spot in the match was the inspired play of Morgen, who had a very good effort against a tough opponent.

“Van had another very solid match; he has been very consistent,” Kramer said.

Morgen said he was starting to lose steam against Bellingham’s second seed, Andrew Troutman, but discovered an important point.

“His backhand wasn’t that strong so I’d mix up my serves to confuse him,” Morgan said. “He’s a lot taller [by roughly 4 inches], but he kept hitting balls high so I hit them low.”

In the shake-up, Adams and Neubauer have been moved up to first-seed doubles.

Against Bellingham, Adams struggled to stay focused.

“Neither of us can allow them to get a shot, and we must return the ball cross-court to be successful,” he said. “Next time will be different.”

Price, meanwhile, seems to have adjusted to singles.

“He played very tough in a long match,” Kramer said. “I was pleased with his efforts. Ben and Jonah definitely improved their game, being much more aggressive and offensive-minded in their match. They gave themselves chances to win. As with any season, some players are evolving nicely.”

Wednesday’s match against Anacortes was cancelled due to rain and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

At 2:45 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 1, the boys welcome the Lynden Lions to the high school courts.

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