The Cougars are looking forward to a fantastic 2012 season and have the ability to make it happen. But the execution and mental toughness needed for the actual win are lurking in the shadows. Coach Smith commented, “Our strokes and serves look great this early in the season, but mental toughness, or lack of it, will determine our wins and losses. Consistency and attitude are unmeasureable but a must.”
In the first outing of the season, the boys played Medical Lake at home and the initial glance of the scorekeepers showed Chewelah behind on all the courts. But most of the singles players “manned up” and got serious with their games. The results were #1, Jeff Petersen losing 3-6, 3-6. #2, Ben Johnstone winning in a first set tie breaker 6-6 (8-6), and taking total control in the second set 6-1. #3, Braeton Flanagan finally “felt it” with a 7-5, 6-1 win, and #4, Collin Kirk-Patterson came from behind with a 6-6 (10-8) tie breaker in the first set, dropped the second set 5-7 and learned to never underestimate your opponent in the third set win, 6-1. #5, Brendan Retherford, had a close 9-7 pro set win with sporadic play, but enough to win. All the doubles teams lost.
Tuesday’s match against St. Georges and Thursday match against Deer Park were cancelled due to snow.
Wednesday the girl’s team hosted Colville, with all the Varsity and JV doubles teams winning and the singles losing. The big winners for the Cougars were Becka Kenney and Bethany Kofmehl at #1 doubles, 6-3, 6-0 with burning alley shots, and Ryann Richmond and Kelley Riese dominating 6-1, 6-2. Both wins are big because the girls bracket to State will be a tough one this year and only three teams will go out of this region. Coach Wulczynski said “we don’t know if Colville will send these two teams to playoffs or pair up their singles players who are much better players. The bracketing might really change, so we have to play our best every outing.”
On Friday the girls traveled to Medical Lake, who was kind enough to use their JV and Varsity players to match skill level with the Chewelah girls so everyone should have a close match. All three singles players won JV pro set matches. Naomi Miller 8-2, Kayleigh Hansen 8-3 and Tenika Smith 8-4. Kenney and Kofmehl played Varsity players and won 8-5 as did Richmond and Riese 8-2.
On Saturday the team traveled to Freeman for a league match, anticipating some tough competition. But upon receiving the Scottie roster, everyone realized two defending state players were not playing tennis this year. This made the day much easier for the Cougs. The boys won 4-1. Petersen fought a tough match and went to a third set but ran out of gas to Campbell, a state contender, 1-6, 6-6 (8-6), 3-6. Johnstone brought his big power serves for a 6-1, 6-0 trouncing and Flanagan received a forfeit but played an exhibition match against Campbell, exchanging leads many times but lost 6-8. In doubles, Tyler Monasmith and David Vilchiz had a breeze of a day compared to the match they expected to play, and had an easy 6-1, 6-0 win where they got to practice their alley shots and poaching net play. Patterson and Mason Miller played #2 doubles and thought they could win by just showing up. After a close 7-5 first set they refocused, calmed down and won 6-1. The girls lost 2-3 in a close match. The biggest win of the day, came from sophomore, Miller, who lost her first set 4-6 and came back full of heart and determination to win 7-5, 6-4. Miller showed that mental toughness and hard work can conquer a better player. Hansen had a tough day at the #2 spot and #3 Smith showed improvement as a freshman and started to play more offense but lost in a close second set, 3-6, 5-7. In doubles, Kenney and Kofmehl lacked fire and confidence and were upset 5-7, 6-1, 3-6. #2 doubles, Richmond and Riese walked on the court like they owned the place and never looked back in a convincing 6-1, 6-2 victory.
The Cougars will host Davenport this week and then enjoy Spring Break. They will host Lakeside April 10 and Riverside April 12.
In the photo: Sophomore Naomi Miller playing the #1 girls singles position for the Cougars took on and conquered Freeman’s #1 player with an impressive 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win. Great job Naomi! Kim Johnstone photo
By Denise Smith, JHS Tennis Coach