The Vashon Island High School boys’ tennis team started its second week of competition with an away match against a scrappy Cascade Christian team last Tuesday. After a bit of a slow start, the Vashon Pirates came away with a 5-0 win, but it was far from easy.
Cascade lost its top two players from last year, and the Pirates were missing a couple players and perhaps were a little over-confident going in to the match. Pirate Hank Rogers played number one singles and lost the first set. He fell behind in the second, but battled all the way back to win the match by taking a second-set tie-breaker and then a final tie-breaker.
At number two singles, Vashon High School’s Towner Anderson started strong, winning the first set 6-0, but then had to hold off a spirited Cascade comeback to take the second set 7-5.
The number one doubles team of Wyatt Keppler and Amadeo Gallina got off to a slow start, falling well behind, but methodically fought back for a long, hard 7-6, 6-3 win. At number two doubles, the team of Cam Bedard and JJ Bogaard controlled a close match for a 6-4, 6-3 win, while Nelson Giorgini and Alex Hitchcock dominated their match throughout, winning 6-0, 6-0 to complete the team sweep.
The Pirate junior varsity teams kept the sweep going by winning every match.
On Thursday, the varsity team traveled to South Kitsap for another away match. Kitsap is 4A team and swept the Pirates last year. But this year, the Pirates got off to a much better start and were able to play at full strength for the first time all year. At number one singles, Anderson had a tough match, but stayed positive and worked hard only to fall to the Kitsap player. Gallina evened the score with a solid 6-2, 6-1 win.
The Pirates’ number one doubles team of Keppler and Bogaard took a tight 6-4, 7-6 win in what was an even matchup. And at number two doubles, Finley Oswald and Rogers looked strong and won 6-1, 6-3. Mason Rice and Bedard played well and took the third doubles 6-3, 6-4.
The Pirates varsity players are all very close in skills, which makes for a versatile and deep team. It paid off in this match.
The varsity win at South Kitsap was satisfying for several reasons — it kept the team on a winning streak and demonstrated a lot of improvement from last year. However, the best story from this match may have been the play of the JV teams. Showing a much higher level of play, the JV team won several close matches and looked improved and competitive in every match it played. The team has been working really hard, and the improvement is now showing in match play and results, as well as better practice sessions.
This week, the Pirates have a nice stretch of practice before playing an important league match against rival Charles Wright Academy at home at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The team will then have a rematch against Cascade on Tuesday, Sept. 26, and against South Kitsap on Saturday, Sept. 30, both at home.
— Pat Mulvihill is head coach of the Vashon High School varsity boys’ tennis team.