Vashon High School’s boys’ tennis team headed into last week looking ahead to the league tournament last Thursday. However, before the main event, the Pirates had their final home match against Cascade Christian Monday, Oct. 16. This was an important match, as for many of the players it was their last of the year. Many of the matchups with Cascade were important for seeding into the tournament, and the Pirates were looking for some momentum going forward as well. It was also senior day, and the team thanked their lone senior and two-year captain Wyatt Keppler for another season of excellent play and leadership.
In number one singles, Towner Anderson took an impressive 6-2, 6-3 win over a tough Cascade player. Keppler elected to play singles in his final home match and completed his last regular season with a strong 6-0, 6-0 win.
At number one doubles, the pair of Mason Rice and Hank Rogers jumped out to an early lead against a steady Cascade team, but seemed to lose focus at the end, losing two straight tiebreakers to drop a 4-6, 7-6, 10-7 decision. A strong number two doubles team of Finley Oswald and JJ Bogaard controlled the next match 6-2, 6-2, and the pair of Alex Hitchcock and Cameron Bedard at number three doubles also won by the same 6-2, 6-2 score.
In the end, the Pirates came out on top with a score of 4-1. The win gave the pirates a 6-4 record over the season — a huge improvement over last season.
The junior varsity teams showed the Pirates’ depth and gave a glimpse of next season’s potential with a sweep of the Cascade teams. Over the course of the season, the JV teams were led by swing players Zach Van Dusen and Jon Maciejewski, who played several varsity matches, as well as Connor Clarke, Connor Breen, Kale Scheer, Kincaid Cummings, Lucca Shattuck, Evan Erickson and Elliot James. This group worked hard all season and showed tremendous growth and improvement.
On Thursday, the Pirates traveled to Sprinker for the Nisqually League Tournament. Only six players are allowed to go per team. On a team as deep and equally skilled as the Pirates were this season, the choices were problematic, but Amadeo Gallina, Anderson, Rice, Rogers, Keppler and Bogaard were ultimately granted spots.
At number one singles, Gallina started slowly after a layoff from injury, but was still able to finish in fourth overall and get the last transfer spot to the district tournament. Anderson, playing at number two singles, performed at a high level all day, losing only to the undefeated number-one seed from Charles Wright in a close, hard-fought match. He won his other two matchups in order to finish third and transfer to districts.
In doubles, the pair of Rice and Rogers reversed their frustrating loss against Cascade earlier in the week and moved into fourth overall qualifying them for districts as well. Vashon’s number one doubles team of Keppler and Bogaard played hard all day and worked their way to the final, where they pushed a strong Charles Wright team before dropping a close decision. They finished in second place and will get a nice seed into the district tournament.
Overall, the day was a major success for the Pirates — all six players moved on to the district tournament. If the Pirates can maintain their higher level of play and eliminate some of the low spots and inconsistent moments, they should be a factor in the district competition as well. Districts start with first-round matches today, Wednesday, and finish next Thursday, Nov. 2. All matches will be played at Sprinker Tennis Center in Tacoma.
— Pat Mulvihill is head coach of Vashon High School’s boys’ tennis team.