Steamboat tennis nets 2 wins during weekend

Sailors top Aspen, Alexander Dawson

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Game statistics

Steamboat 6, Aspen 1

No. 1 singles

Aspen's Bryan Mehall def. Jamey Swiggart, 6-3, 7-6 (6-3)

No. 2 singles

Steamboat's Keegan Burger def. Taylor Lambert, 6-2, 6-3

No. 3 singles

Steamboat's Jeff Lambart def. Michael Willsky, 7-5, 6-4

No. 1 doubles

Steamboat's Charlie Smith and Jack Burger def. Paul Young and Kyle Fener, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)

No. 2 doubles

Steamboat's Mirko Erspamer and Alex Gibbs def. Cole Green-Smith and Luke Pratte, 6-3, 6-3

No. 3 doubles

Steamboat's Ben Paley and Zach Valicenti def. Nic Broeking and Alex Smith, 6-2, 6-1

No. 4 doubles

Steamboat's Vladen Chase and Erik Sortland def. Tobie Tzsuki and Nicky Fuller, 6-0, 6-0

Afternoon game

Steamboat also topped Alexander Dawson on Saturday, 6-1, in an afternoon match.

— Fast-forward three weeks, to regional tournament play Oct. 11, and the feel will probably be similar to Saturday's tennis match between Steamboat Springs and Aspen.

The two teams are the best in their region and have created a rivalry that, for the most part, Steamboat Springs High School has dominated.

That dominance continued Saturday with Steamboat winning, 6-1. The only Sailors loss came at No. 1 singles, where freshman Jamey Swiggart battled all day before falling to Bryan Mehall, 6-3, 7-6 (6-3).

Still, both Steamboat coach John Aragon and Aspen coach Torre came away from Saturday's action looking forward to that Oct. 11 date.

"Year after year Steamboat is what we call our rival," Torre said. "They're the ones that we have to tune up against. It's so great for us to see this. We go to regionals and our goal is to match up with Steamboat."

Although Steamboat won, 6-1, the matches were much closer.

At No. 3 singles, Steamboat's Jeff Lambart and Michael Willsky went to a tiebreaker in the second set, as did the No. 1 doubles match between Charlie Smith and Jack Burger from Steamboat and Paul Young and Kyle Fener from Aspen.

But when it mattered, Steamboat showed why it has won the past 10 regional tournaments.

Each time an Aspen player looked like they had the advantage, Steamboat would finish a shot or squish a rally.

"I like to grind it out and really play the long matches," said Lambart, whose match with Willsky lasted more than two hours. "That's how I beat people, is wear them down. But it's good that we've got a win over Aspen. They're tough, and they're going to want it at regionals."

Maybe the most impressive victory for Steamboat came at No. 2 singles, where Keegan Burger beat Taylor Lambert, 6-2, 6-3.

Aragon said Lambert's a very tough opponent and for Burger - just a sophomore - to play the way he did bodes well for Steamboat as the team progresses through the final third of its season.

"I was really impressed with him," Aragon said. "It was fun to see him play with composure and confidence. It was incredible the way he held himself together through all the points over a very worthy opponent."

Steamboat next plays at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Kent Denver - a team expected to compete for a Class 4A state title.

"I'm seeing it in them," Aragon said. "We're young but tenacious. I love seeing these guys compete."

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