Zack Dunklin sizes up a return Friday as the Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis team opened its season at home.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Zack Dunklin sizes up a return Friday as the Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis team opened its season at home.

Steamboat Springs boys tennis opens season with win

Sailors defeat Aspen Skiers, 4-3

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2010 Sailors boys tennis schedule

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Steamboat's Keegan Burger connects with the ball Friday playing for the Steamboat Springs High School tennis team.

— Last year, Steamboat Springs High School senior tennis player Keegan Burger probably wouldn’t have won this match.

But with a renewed sense of focus and work on his mental game throughout the spring and summer, Burger was able to outlast Aspen’s Bryan Mehall on Friday, walking away with a 7-6, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles, helping propel Steamboat to a 4-3 win.

Burger’s performance be­­came all the more important for the Sailors as regular No. 1 singles player Jamey Swiggart found out he will be out for the year with a lower back injury.

“I like the opportunity to step up,” Burger said. “I was nervous at first but settled in during the second set. I’ve been trying hard this summer to keep my head. I kept it this match.”

Steamboat also picked up wins from Jack Burger at No. 3 singles, Gabri Erspamer and Erik Owen at No. 2 doubles and Kyle Rogers and Ben Siegel at No. 3 doubles.

“We hadn’t played really before,” Rogers said. “We were getting used to playing together, but eventually we got it going.”

But it was Keegan Burger who really stole Friday’s spotlight.

Always a talented player, there were times last year when he would let his emotions take him out of matches.

But even when a line judge had to be called over because of close calls, Keegan kept his head about him.

After Keegan Burger and Mehall battled back and forth in the first set, Keegan Burger dominated the second, playing baseline to baseline as well as he ever has.

“That’s the best I’ve ever seen Keegan play,” Steamboat assistant coach Don Toy said.

Steamboat struggled in some spots, but it was a young team Toy put out there.

Maxx Schaller and Zach Dunklin played their first varsity match at No. 1 singles as did Siegel and the No. 4 doubles team of Quinn Cain and Corbin Diehl.

“If bad things happen, we’re not going to talk about it,” Toy said. “We’re going to work really hard with our fundamentals and good things will happen.”

The team gets right back on the court at 1 p.m. today against Evergreen at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. Toy said that after the initial tournament experience for most of his players, he expects the team to perform better today.

“Our goals are still the same,” he said. “We’re going to try and win regionals. Once we get to state, our kids are really going to improve. That’s where our goals are at now.”

Boys tennis results

Steamboat 4, Aspen 3

No. 1 singles

Steamboat’s Keegan Burger def. Bryan Mehall, 7-6, 6-0

No. 2 singles

Aspen’s Michael Willsky def. Mirko Erspamer, 6-3, 6-2

No. 3 singles

Steamboat’s Jack Burger def. Brett Gordon, 6-1, 6-1

No. 1 doubles

Aspen’s Brian DeRosa and Stevie Anderson def. Maxx Schaller and Zach Dunklin, 7-5, 6-4

No. 2 doubles

Steamboat’s Gabri Erspamer and Erik Owen def. Brad Broeking and Kaelin Gabow, 6-4, 6-3

No. 3 doubles

Steamboat’s Kyle Rogers and Ben Siegel def. Victor Robinson and Rocky Tschappat, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3

No. 4 doubles

Aspen’s Grant Goodman and Miles Keilin def. Quinn Cain and Corbin Diehl, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4

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