May 2, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 2

After a rough outing, Cheney boy's tennis soars back

Although the week started off rough for the Cheney High School tennis team, their comeback one day later was nothing short of impressive.

Last Tuesday, the team struggled against perennial GNL top team Clarkston, losing 6-1.

“They were going to be tough, and we knew that coming in. Pullman barely got them 4-3,” head coach Jesse Erickson said. “That was the first time they’ve lost in six years, so they’re pretty dominant.”

Throughout the day, singles play wasn’t as consistent as previous outings, leading some to struggle against the veteran experience that Clarkston brought to the table against Cheney’s younger team. Cheney’s singles lineup was unable to win any of the sets throughout the matchup.

“The effort was there. I just tell them that we need to get better with every match,” Erickson said. “Even though losses, we’ll improve.”

In doubles, the story was largely similar with the exception of Nicholas and Nathaniel Brewster’s 6-4, 6-2 win. That would be Cheney’s only winning match on the day.

“I put them back in doubles and they played the best they’ve played up to that point,” Erickson said. “They were really aggressive, attacking the net and serving well against a very tough Clarkston team.”

The loss to Clarkston left the team undeterred, however, with a resurgence the very next day against Medical Lake. Cheney saw their neighboring school earlier this year and lost to them 4-3.

“The first time around, they got us, so we were hoping to get redemption and we got it in a big way,” Erickson said.

Solomon Springberry rebounded, going 7-5, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles position.

“He struggled a bit in that first set. Solomon can start slow, but once he gets going, you have to look out. He comes on strong,” Erickson said.

The rest of the singles lineup of Tyler Bennett, Ryan Axtell and Mason Van Stone won their matches, only allowing Medical Lake to score up to three points throughout the entire day.

Doubles players also had a very dominant stretch against their opponents, with two of three teams winning their matches. Nicholas Brewster and Talmadge Dickson faced arguably the toughest competition of the day against Anton King and Hunter Barr, losing 6-2, 6-3 to Medical Lake. The actual gameplay was much closer than the final score indicates, however, and came down to a number of close games that could have gone either way.

In all, Erickson said the team’s performance against Medical Lake was like night and day compared to the day before.

“I couldn’t be happier with that day,” he said.

Last weekend, the tennis team sent players throughout the Spokane area in the Inland Empire tournament. Nicholas and Nathaniel Brewster ended up finishing eighth out of 47 schools after advancing to Saturday, defeating University and Selah high schools along the way.

Among the teams in the tournament included a mixed doubles pairing of Ben Sanchez and Kaitlynn Sweeney who beat Clarkston 6-1, 6-2 in their first match before falling to Othello.

Also part of the tournament were JV players Luke Huguenin and Adam Passey, who went 1-2 for the day, defeating Clarkfork along the way 6-0, 6-3.

“It was a great day, a really great tournament for us,” Erickson said. “A lot of JV players were able to get their feet wet at a varsity level and at a tournament.”

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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