Vashon High School’s boys’ tennis team began match play last week. With almost all of last year’s team returning, the coaches and players are hoping to improve on last year’s slow start.
The team has 19 players and most came out early to prepare for the season’s first matches. Practices looked good the last few weeks of August, but it is still a relatively young team and the first week brought a somewhat daunting schedule. The league opener was an away match against Charles Wright (CWA), which is always a tough team with state-level players.
The match turned out to be a close back-and-forth contest. CWA jumped out to an early lead as Vashon’s Towner Anderson fought hard, but lost at number one singles 2-6, 3-6. Vashon’s Hank Rogers then evened the score with an exceptionally clean 7-5, 6-2 win at number two singles. But, CWA took the number one doubles match as Mason Rice and Finley Oswald played well, but couldn’t quite get ahead of a very strong CWA doubles team.
At number two doubles, Vashon had a new combination with Wyatt Keppler and JJ Bogaard playing together for the first time. The combination seemed to click, as they took a close match from another strong, experienced CWA team 7-5, 6-3 to even the score.
The final doubles match had Vashon’s Nelson Giorgini and Alex Hitchcock winning the first set 7-5 after mounting a strong comeback. However, they were losing the second 2-5 when rain stopped the match. This match will be continued next time the teams meet and will determine who wins the matchup. Essentially, the Pirates left with a tie — an unusual, but good first match result, considering it was an away match against a very tough opponent.
Vashon’s junior varsity team also had a nice trip to CWA. Both teams are very deep, and the JV level of play was quite high for this point in the season. Zach VanDusen and Jon Maciejewski had a nice win. The other Pirate teams — Kale Scheer and Connor Breen, Lucca Shattuck and Chad Dublin, and Evan Erickson and Connor Clarke — played well and gained a lot of experience, but fell to the CWA opposition.
On Saturday, VHS hosted a day-long round-robin style tournament with teams from Emerald Ridge, Puyallup and Kentwood all playing. There were approximately 36 matches going over the course of the day, and, fortunately, the rain in the forecast never arrived, and all the matches were completed.
The three visiting schools are relatively large 4A classifications with solid tennis programs, and they brought some imposing players. Vashon stayed competitive all day, but the tournament was more about having fun, learning and meeting new players rather than keeping score. There was also great turnout to watch the matches. Special thanks to the brave parents who brought food for four high school teams and to our team players who helped set up and clean up.
The Pirates visited Cascade Christian for a league match after press time Tuesday and will travel to South Kitsap tomorrow, Thursday. The Pirates don’t have a home match until Friday, Sept. 22, but then have a stretch of four straight home matches through Oct 2.
— Pat Mulvihill is head coach of the VHS boys’ tennis team.