Saturday, August 25, 2007
Steamboat Springs Matt Gadbois and Ramsey Bernard remember the days when they were the lone freshmen on the Steamboat Springs boys tennis team.
Now, the pair are the team's only seniors and have the duty of leading a markedly young team set on repeating as the region's top team.
Steamboat had its first test Friday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs as Montrose, a perennial top-three regional contender, brought an experienced, senior-laden squad to the courts.
Gadbois, who played at the No. 3 doubles last year, is now playing at the No. 2 singles spot. He had an easy task when an ineligible opponent gave him victory by forfeit.
But this also meant he will go into the regional tournament not having seen a key opponent.
Bernard had a few early setbacks as he broke two rackets in as many games. But he borrowed his little brother's racquet, started landing serves and dismantled Sean Gueck, 6-3, 6-2.
"I just basically played his backhand and was working on my serve and coming to the net," Bernard said. "He was good and it was good to get to see him."
The closest match of the day came down to a tiebreaker between the Steamboat junior and sophomore tandem of Charlie Smith and Jordan Bernard against Montrose's Sterling Parks and Tim Koski.
Steamboat won the second set and was leading into the third but some tentative play and early season cerebral mistakes - from double faults to unforced errors - allowed Montrose back in the third set to tie.
In the tiebreaker, Smith followed a nice smash shot point with a backhand return that tied, and then gave Steamboat a 7-6 lead. Jordan Bernard sealed the match point with a serve that Koski lobbed out of bounds.
"Even though it was 7-0, we had some close matches and it was good to see the young kids step up and play well," head coach John Aragon said.
Steamboat plays Colorado Academy at 1 p.m. today at the Tennis Center.
- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253 or e-mail email@example.com