Tyler Monasmith and David Vilchiz placed 6th at State last weekend and made JHS tennis history by being the first doubles team to ever play at State and the first tennis players from JHS to place at State. Other attendees in JHS history include Michelle Meyer (’03), Susan Harrison(’05) and Jace Hochwalt (’10). Monasmith and Vilchiz achieved their goal of playing at State and accomplished Coach Smith’s goal of placing.
In the first day of the tournament, the team won both matches on the upper courts at the Yakima Tennis Club. In the first match they played Freeman and Harrang of Seattle Academy. The match was a long one, going an unusual three sets. The duo jumped off to a first game lead then dropped a few games before making a comeback and using two games where Harrang missed most of his serves to their advantage and took a 4-3 lead. Then both teams fought for the first set win which is usually a big mental boost. The set however ended up in a tie breaker with Monasmith and Vilchiz winning 7-4. The next set found S.A. in their groove and the Cougars stroking too many shots into the net because they were tightening up their shots and feeling a lot of pressure, 3-6. But in the final third set, the Cougs played relaxed like their usual selves and had a dominating, quick 6-1 win with some burning alley shots and net smashes that had to be chased over the fence. The win placed the Cougs into the top eight teams, facing Gaudette and Rickenbacher of Naches Valley in the Quarterfinals.
After scanning the opposing players, it was decided Gaudette was obviously the largest player in the tourney and might be a bit slow on the court. But after a few games this theory was thrown out the window as he got to the majority of all the balls hit over the net no matter where they went. He proved deadly at the net and had finesse in all of his shots. This caused Monasmith and Vilchiz to have to make very wise decisions about every shot or end up dodging and eating the ball. The first set was close, but as the team tightened up and tried to hit around the big guy they found too many balls being returned to places they couldn’t get to and lost 4-6. In the second set they got behind due to not believing in themselves, but finally started picking on Rickenbacher more and using consistent returns to win 7-5. In the third and deciding set the Cougars were told three times by Coach Smith to “hit it to the little guy”, but with Gaudette poaching it was easier said than done. As Naches Valley got tired they also both started making mistakes that Monasmith and Vilchiz capitalized on. They fought back from a 15- 40 deficit in three different games even though they were exhausted and worn out for a thrilling 6-4 victory and right to play in the semi finals match first thing Saturday morning.
In this match they played the Grenley twins from Charles Wright, the school that won State last year. The brothers didn’t have much trouble in the 6-0, 6-2 win on account of all the unforced errors and inability of the Cougars to play their usual style. As the errors added up their positive attitude was lost and so was the match.
In their final High School match the team faced Stewart and Tri of La Salle who had only given up five games the entire previous day. The winner would take home the third place medal and the loser 6th place honors. Monasmith and Vilchiz jumped out to an early first game lead but then lost confidence in themselves and gave up a few games before bouncing back to win a few more games. The first set ended up in a 4-6 loss which was mentally and physically draining to the team. In the second set they tried to hit to the weaker player more but their strokes were too tight and the pressure of the situation got the better of them in a 2-6 loss.
Placing 6th at State and being the first Cougar tennis players to go that far is quite an accomplishment for a team that only made it to Regionals last year but persevered and took their game to a higher level, became team captains and reached their goal of State.
Also, congratulations to Kim Johnstone who was the winner of the raffle quilt and thanks to everyone for their support of the tennis team and to all the people who came down to support Tyler and David at State.
Submitted by Denise Smith JHS Tennis Coach
In this photo: David Vilchiz flies through the air to return a smash at the State tournament at the Yakima Tennis Club and bring home 6th place honors.