South Whidbey’s boys tennis team was a bit rusty on Monday afternoon. Though it wasn’t an excuse to lose 5-0 to Overlake, Falcon head coach Karyle Kramer said, it may have contributed to the slow starts the players had.
This was true in the case of the Falcons’ top doubles team, juniors Ryan Wenzek and Hank Papritz.
In addition to being a bit rusty following a four-day hiatus after rain and stormy weather prevented them from hitting the courts, they also noticed something was different about their opponents from Overlake, Alex Harvat and Wesley Chan; they had shifted where they lined up on court. It spurred confusion with Wenzek and Papritz, who had to change their positioning and strategy slightly to compensate. But by the time they caught on, the damage was already done.
“They were way more consistent and they changed up their game,” Wenzek said. “We weren’t ready for it. We played good, but not good enough.”
“It just messes with your mind a little bit,” Papritz added.
Wenzek and Papritz lost the match 6-2, 6-4.
The Falcons also lost 5-0 as a team, dropping them to 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Emerald City League. It was a major flip from the last time the two teams played on Sept. 15, which the Falcons lost 3-2.
Kramer said the team as a whole had an off day. But, while the team struggled in their first sets, they turned things around in the second sets.
“We haven’t hit tennis balls since last Wednesday because of the weather,” Kramer said. “For the most part, I think their play was better in the second set today. So, that was promising. That tells me they started a little slow. Their timing was off and it didn’t feel right. Well, that’s because they had four days off.”
This was true in Wenzek and Papritz’s case, she said, which started off slowly and was also thrown off by their opponents’ change in formation.
Wenzek and Papritz’s opponents were also the more aggressive team. Papritz said he hesitated during some of the rallies and that he hopes to correct the error in the coming weeks.
“They were hitting it harder and more consistently,” Papritz said. “We couldn’t win the rallies.”
The pair said they’ll need to go back to the drawing board in anticipation of their next match with Overlake, which will likely come at the district meet. Papritz and Wenzek are 7-2 for the season.