The 2017 boys tennis season came to end at the District Three Tournament on Thursday at Sprinkler Tennis Center.
The district tournament hosts the top teams from the Olympic and Nisqually leagues for a season-ending tournament that also determines which players advance to the state tournament. Only the top two finishers advanced to State in Yakima, held in the spring in order to accommodate the winners of the girls season as well.
Last week, Vashon advanced all of their entries from the league tournament, giving them two singles and two doubles teams in the district tournament. The format has the top four seeds from the Olympic League playing the lower four seeds from the Nisqually League, and vice versa, in a modified double elimination draw. The tournament took two days to play, in part due to the rainy weather, which forced all matches indoors and in part to reduce the number of matches a player needs to play in one day. Even so, it’s a long grind for the players to complete the tournament on that second day.
In singles, Vashon’s Amadeo Gallina drew the top Olympic League player, who has qualified for state several times. Gallina played an impressive match, but dropped a straight set decision. Towner Anderson had a nice, efficient win in the first round over a Klahowya player but then lost to the eventual tournament winner in the next round. After a couple wins in the losers bracket, Gallina and Anderson had to meet one another in a dreaded same-school match-up. It was a marathon match with well over 50 shot rallies common. Ultimately, Gallina prevailed in a third set tie breaker 13-11. He finished in a tie for third, and Towner finished a strong fifth.
In doubles, the pair of Mason Rice and Hank Rogers had to start against Coupeville’s number one, the Olympic League’s best doubles team. They kept the match close, but dropped their opening round. Meanwhile, the team of Wyatt Keppler and JJ Bogaard opened with a win against Coupeville’s number two team. They then were able to defeat Coupeville’s number one team in a tight three-set match, which sent them to the tournament final — a rematch of the league final against Charles Wright. The Pirates seemed to lose a little momentum and got off to rough start and dropped this match in straight sets. In the losers bracket, the pair of Rice and Rogers found its game and pulled off two wins in a row.
The pair’s second win against a tough Charles Wright number two team was particularly gratifying. Not only did they reverse some hard losses from earlier in the year, they eliminated the only team that could have challenged the team of Keppler and Bogaard for the last spot to advance to State. The Rice/Rogers pair finished the tournament in fourth place and Keppler/Bogaard finished in second place and will travel to the state tournament.
Overall, the Pirates took a well-deserved second place in the tournament as a team. The solid playoff season combined with some excellent regular season results is a tribute to the entire 20-man team which has worked hard, got along well and steadily improved for the last two years.
— Pat Mulvihill is the boys’ tennis coach.