It was another fabulous week for Chewelah Tennis, with the boys and girls each picking up two league wins. The boys were flawless winning 60 games against Freeman and only giving up 16 for another sweep. The match started out with everyone a bit anxious because all seven players were playing someone different than in the previous meeting in March. However, the only challenging match was at first doubles. Collin Kirk-Patterson and Mason Miller had a little attitude check and played keep away from the net guy before winning 6-4, 6-4 to remain undefeated in league. Luke Timm’s opponent asked for a line judge after the first set, but Timm didn’t let that bother him as he won the second set 6-0 in record time by getting to the net and hitting lots of winners.
The girls match was a different story, with two Chewelah girls sick and Bethany Kofmehl in the hospital. Everyone was definitely going to have to step up their game for the team win. After spending a whole practice on figuring out which JV player would play best with Becka Kenney at the #1 doubles position, the coaches re-thought strategy and figured the Scotties would put their best players at doubles and the Cougs had better do the same. So, singles player, Ryann Richmond, who played doubles last year, was teamed up with Becka Kenney, and JV player Patti Hernandez was moved to #3 singles, while Naomi Miller was moved up to #2 singles. The line up paid off for the Cougars, with Kenney and Richmond battling for every point and learning how to work together for a 6-2 win in the first set, losing a tie-breaker in the second set and winning the third set 6-3. Miller had an easy 6-1, 6-1 win with powerful, backhand, cross court shots. Hernandez, playing her first Varsity singles match ever, served a few aces and hustled all over the court “playing the hardest match of her life” for a convincing 6-1, 6-4 win in which she said, “singles is a lot harder than doubles.” But the important thing was she maintained her focus, convinced herself to play each point the best she could, no matter how the previous one had turned out. Tia Justice and Kayleigh Hansen at #2 doubles played inconsistent by hitting too many shots to the net person and everyone knows “net people are not friendly” but came away with the first set tie-breaker win 7-5 due to a scoring error by Freeman and a second set win 6-3.
At Lakeside on Thursday the Cougars stepped on the courts, took charge and never looked back. The results were a 10-0 sweep for the Varsity, with everyone winning in two sets. In the previous meeting against the Eagles, Tenika Smith and Ryann Richmond had both lost, but this time the good vibes were pouring off them and they both controlled their opponent for good quality wins, Smith 6-3, 6-0 and Richmond 6-3, 6-1. “When it comes down to the last week of regular season play, it is nice to see that your players have improved enough to beat someone they had previously lost to.” commented Coach Smith. Miller had the quickest match of the day taking less time to beat her opponent than to chase stray balls 6-0, 6-0. Hernandez and Kenney teamed up at the #1 doubles and had a few poor points but some great alley burns for the 6-1, 6-1 win. Justice and Hansen won 6-2, 6-3 with some good rallies and angle net shots.
In boys action, Ben Johnstone fought the big serve of Thomas Rustin but was more consistent in most other aspects of the game and broke serve enough times to win 6-1, 6-2. This score was a big improvement from the last meeting when Johnstone gave up 7 games. Braeton Dainty-Flanagan took on a new opponent and won handily 6-1, 6-1 with some aces and great passing shots showing he was the most consistent player on the court. Luke Timm won his seventh straight #3 singles match 6-1, 6-1 using a lot of his usual slice and a combination of short and deep shots. Both doubles teams also continued their undefeated league season getting their seventh straight league wins with superb net play and consistent cross court shots that baffled the opponent.
On Friday, the team traveled to Spokane for the 68th annual Inland Empire tournament and played at 7 different sites. Overall, everyone played very well and got a lot of tennis in. This was a chance to play different schools and play several matches in one day in preparation for play-offs.
This week the Cougars travel to Riverside for their last league match on Tuesday then have a break until May 10 when they start league playoffs at Mead at 3 p.m.
-Submitted by JHS Tennis
In this photo: Naomi Miller plays her Lakeside opponent with smooth strokes and persistence to get the win. Kim Johnstone photo