The Cheney High School boys’ tennis team saw it all last week: a win, loss and a rainout.
The team struggled in its match against Pullman, losing 7-0 against one of the Great Northern League’s top teams.
Scores for Cheney were on the lower end, however the games were much closer than scores indicated.
Head coach Jesse Erickson said Solomon Springberry, who lost 1-6 and 1-6, was being aggressive throughout his match, but couldn’t capitalize on several close games. He said the same thing went for Ryan Axtell, who lost 3-6 and 4-6. Axtell was serving well, and was using a much-improved swing throughout his time on the court, but some inconsistencies led to a difficult time.
The team’s Wednesday match against Clarkston was rained out and will be scheduled for a later date.
While Pullman proved to be a difficult mountain to climb, Cheney ended up narrowly beating East Valley two days later 4-3.
“That was probably the most intense match, since it came down to the wire,” Erickson said.
Among the strong performers included Nathaniel Brewster, who defeated East Valley’s Cam Lee 7-5, 6-2.
“He played really well,” Erickson said. “He got on cruise control after that, moving his opponent from side to side. It was just a great win for him.”
Another big change was in Axtell’s performance, nearly reversing his scores against Pullman just two days prior, going 6-2 and 6-0.
“He didn’t end up struggling at all,” Erickson said. “It served as a big confidence booster from his Pullman match.”
The match ultimately was decided by their No. 3 doubles team of Ben Sanchez and Collan Kay, who went 6-2, 5-7 and 7-6 (10-8). The duo were up by 6-5 at one point before East Valley tied it and forced a tiebreaker. They struggled in that, but were able to bounce back at the right time and pull out a win.
“We knew from the start that it would be close,” Erickson said.
The team’s performance especially in a high-pressure situation like East Valley’s match proved to be a highlight of the day, and served the team a big boost of confidence.
“I’m really proud of the way we were able to close out that East Valley match,” Erickson said. “It could have gone either way. To see that confidence and no fear attitude, especially from our freshmen, was excellent.”
James Eik can be reached at email@example.com.