Blackhawks tennis keep winning streak alive

SPTS - Cheney tennis Shogo Starr 2 - 03312016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Cheney High boys’ tennis team wrapped up their nonleague schedule with a 5-2 win over Greater Spokane League’s North Central, March 30 and a sweep of Northeast A League’s Deer Park, 5-0, March 31.

Against North Central, Ryan Axtell, No.1 singles, swept Austin Bair (6-0, 6-0) and Mason Van Stone, No. 2, shut out Jarrett Walker (6-0, 6-0).

Brandon Foster, No. 3, defeated Matt Ruff (6-0, 6-1) while Shogo Starr, No. 4, won his match against Jayden Gage (6-1, 6-1).

“Our singles lineup all looked strong,” head coach Jesse Erickson said. “Ryan and Mason are becoming more aggressive on returns. Brandon and Shogo are getting more comfortable, and playing strong at the net.”

Dirk Ray and Jack Zuelke, No. 3, won the only doubles match for Cheney after they defeated Ryan Hildahl and Nick Neimbigner (6-1, 6-1).

In the Deer Park match, Axtell, No. 1, kept his winning streak alive after he defeated Niamh Lakewolf (6-2, 6-4) and Starr, who moved up to No. 2, swept Trevor Murphy (6-0, 6-0).

As for doubles, Van Stone and Foster, teaming for the first time at the No. 1 spot, won a close match against Izaak Curry and Tyson Lim (3-6, 6-1, 6-3). Erickson said Van Stone and Foster had played doubles in the past but it had been with different partners. Adam Passey and Luke Hugenin, No. 2, won their match as well (6-1, 6-3).

“Deer Park’s No. 1 and No. 2 doubles were undefeated going into this match,” Erickson said. “All four of my guys looked strong and were communicating well.”

Ray and Zuelke, No. 3, shut out Dawson Dotts and Chad Vincent (6-0, 6-0).

According to Erickson, Cheney only played five games against Deer Park instead of the normal seven because NEA teams only play two singles games and three doubles.

“We were at their home court, so we played by their rules,” Erickson said.

Cheney, 6-0, will have a nice break until April 12 when they travel to East Valley to play the Knights in their first Great Northern League match. Erickson said illness and other school commitments have forced him to shift the doubles lineup in the past couple of weeks.

“Many guys from JV have stepped up and that’s been great,” Erickson said. “Hopefully we’ll be back at full strength after spring break.”

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