Sailors split matches

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Down match point and three games into the second set against Evergreen's Tim Heitch, Steamboat Springs tennis player Taylor Reed rallied to win the second and third set, and subsequently the match, in Saturday's duel at the Tennis Center in Steamboat Springs.

He defeated Aspen's Will Otte in three sets earlier Saturday.

Sailors coach John Aragon said Reed's determination in those matches is exactly what he likes to see from his players all season, and particularly with regionals less than a week away.

"He never gave up. He did whatever it took to get back in it," Aragon said.

Steamboat hosted Aspen and Evergreen in dual matches Saturday, marking the final competition for the Sailors before they head to regionals in Aspen, Thursday through Friday.

Steamboat has won five straight regional titles. Saturday, Aspen, a regional opponent, got an early preview of how dominant Steamboat potentially can be, as the home team easily won 6-1.

Jonathan Solomon, the Sailors' No. 1 singles player, was the only player to lose to an Aspen player on Saturday, falling to Lasse Siedenburg, a German foreign exchange student, 6-1, 6-1.

Aragon said Siedenburg is a top player in his flight in Germany, but believes Solomon can defeat him. The two likely will meet again at regionals.

Steamboat didn't fare as well against Evergreen, falling 3-4. Aragon served as Mike Humphries' college coach at the University of Northern Colorado, so Humphries' Cougars players are always ready to face the Sailors.

Evergreen picked up wins at No. 2 singles, and No. 1, 2 and 3 doubles. Solomon, Reed and the No. 4 doubles team of Dylan Roberts and Brian Behrman recorded wins for the Sailors. All four players won in three sets.

"Evergreen is solid," Aragon said. "That is the level they will see at state or even higher."

Steamboat junior Patrick Ayers faced one of his biggest challenges of the season in Evergreen's Andrew Rauch on Saturday. Ayers lost the match, 3-6, 2-6, but said facing the Cougar player helped expose some areas of his game that he wants to improve upon for regionals, particularly his net game.

The top two finishers at regionals advance to the state tournament Oct. 9-11 in Pueblo.

--To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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