The Cheney High boy’s tennis team began its first week in Great Northern League action on a high note with a 5-2 win over West Valley, March 31. Then they experienced a 5-2 nonleague loss against Ferris, their first defeat of the season, April 1.
“West Valley was a solid win for us, especially since they beat us both times last year,” head coach Jesse Erickson said.
Britton Williams, at No. 3 singles, went 1-1, defeating West Valley’s Troy Cleaver (6-2, 6-0), then losing a close match to Ferris’ Cameron Vu (6-4, 2-6, 6-7).
“Britton came back strong in the second set,” Erickson said. “He made some errors and was missing some volleys in the third set and couldn’t pull off the tiebreaker. He felt good about his performance, despite the loss.”
Ben Sanchez, No. 4 singles, had a similar week as Williams. He defeated the Eagles’ Dylan Almeida (6-1, 6-0) where he had 11 serving aces, then lost to the Saxons’ Blake Hansen (1-6, 1-6).
“Just to get one ace is impressive but to get 11 is phenomenal,” Erickson said.
At No. 2 singles, Ryan Axtell went 1-1, with a victory against West Valley’s Ryan Hunter (6-1, 6-1) in a match where he scored several serving aces, then lost to Ferris’ Nate McVay (6-4, 3-6, 2-6). Erickson said Axtell was aggressive and had good returns and solid play, however wasn’t able to capitalize on the win.
Ryan Smedley, at the No. 1 singles spot lost to WV’s Cameron Conner (4-6, 7-5, 9-11) in a match that lasted over two hours, and to Ferris’ Conrad Provan (1-6, 1-6).
In doubles’ action, Jordan Kauwe and Luke Huguenin, No. 2 doubles, picked up their first win as a pair after they defeated West Valley’s Aaron Larson and Saqlain Shaikh (6-1, 6-0). They also won a close match against Ferris’ Zach Utzinger and Micah Vogel (6-3, 4-6, 10-3).
Jay T. Gould and Brandon Foster continued their winning streak after victories over the Eagles’ Delice Davie and Harjasleen Gil (no score was provided) and the Saxon’s Nathan Haulman and Noah Stanley (6-2, 7-5).
“All four of these guys have really communicated well with each other,” Erickson said. “The chemistry between the four of them is evident in their playing.”
Shogo Starr and Adam Passey went 0-2 as a team, losing matches to WV’s Spencer Glass and Christian Medlen (6-1, 2-6, 4-6) and Ferris’ Mitch Kirkpatrick and Eric Holmes (1-6, 2-6).
The Blackhawks are 1-0 in the GNL and 5-1 in overall competition. They return to action April 14 to host East Valley (1-0, 2-0) in a league match.
“With some of the close losses, it exposes what you’re good at and what you need to work on,” Erickson said. “We are going to get some solid practices in over spring break.”