Friday, September 2, 2005
Ryan McNamara sometimes yells at himself and throws his black Nike cap.
On Friday, the Steamboat Springs tennis player did both en route to falling behind 4-1 in the opening set of his No. 3 singles match.
Sailors coach John Aragon sat in the shade, watched several points and promptly called the sophomore over to the fence for instruction.
"He told me to focus and stay calm and not get frustrated," McNamara said.
McNamara responded by winning the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-3) and went on to win the second set, 6-3, ending another dominating day for the Steamboat tennis team.
The top varsity team won every match against regional opponents Hotchkiss and Cedaredge on Aug. 27. On Friday, the Sailors were just as good against Colorado Academy, a much better opponent.
Brandon Shenfield was the lone Sailor to lose Friday, and he held his own against Colorado Academy's Matt Mazia, falling 2-6, 3-6. Shenfield was filling in for Walker Loetscher at No. 1 singles, who was playing in a Labor Day tournament.
"Colorado Academy was a lot better than the scores indicate," Aragon said. "They had great depth, which I was surprised with. The strength of their doubles all the way down, I was pleased with how we matched up. I was glad to see us close out good matches."
Steamboat's No. 1 doubles team of Taylor Reed and Jesse Schaller and the No. 2 doubles team of Jon Reese and Brian Aragon were not challenged. However, the Sailors' No. 3 doubles team of Nick Ludolph and Dylan Roberts and the No.4 doubles team of Brian Behrman and Scott Peterson found themselves in tougher matches.
Both teams won close first sets before winning the second sets easily.
For Reed, who spent the past two years playing singles, the transition from singles back to doubles has been a smooth one.
"I wanted to play doubles this year," he said. "I need to learn to play at the net more."
An increase in net play has been a goal of Ramsey Bernard's, as well. Last year, Bernard played No. 3 singles. This year, the sophomore is Steamboat's No. 2 singles player.
"I'm coming to the net more," Bernard said. "I almost never did last year. You have to add more to your game as you move up."
On Friday, Bernard defeated Blaine D'Argonne easily, 6-1, 6-1.
McNamara, who plays with Steamboat because Vail Mountain School does not offer tennis, was the only Sailor in a close two-set match. Much shorter than Jake Corkin, McNamara did not realize serving and volleying was such an important part of Corkin's game.
"(I don't see) many at all," McNamara said about the number of serve-and-volleyers in high school tennis. "To get better, these are the matches I need to be in. They are more fun."
Steamboat's next matches are Sept. 9 and 10. The Varsity 1 team will be at the Western Slope League Tournament in Grand Junction, while the Varsity 2 team will be at the Loveland Tournament.