Steamboat tennis players advance to regional finals

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— When the players take the courts for the regional tennis tournament at Canyon View Park in Grand Junction on Saturday morning, it will look a lot like a replay of a September match between Steamboat and Aspen.

“We are going to be facing Aspen in six of the seven matches,” Sailors coach Don Toy said Friday afternoon. “It should make for some really good tennis.”

Back in September, the Sailors lost a tough 4-3 decision to the team from Aspen, but Toy thinks the Sailors have come a long way since that match. But he also is expecting to see improved players on the other end of the court.

“We’ve gotten a lot better, and I’m sure they have, too,” Toy said.

Toy is hoping to see Steamboat’s No. 4 doubles team continue a Cinderella run that began Friday, when the squad won its first two matches of the tournament to advance to the regional finals. The team of Matthew White and Aiden Gibbs was 0-10 headed into Friday’s matches, but the Steamboat team topped Durango and Montezuma-Cortez to earn a shot at a regional title in the finals.

“Today was a good day for our team,” Toy said.

Toy was pleased with the way all of the doubles teams performed in Grand Junction.

The No. 1 team of Corbin Diehl and Ben Wharton will face Aspen after moving into the finals with a second-round victory against Montrose. The team had a first-round bye.

Steamboat’s No. 2 team of Quinn Cain and Nick Mathews also will be playing for a regional title along with the No. 3 team of Zach Dunkln and Joe Borgerding after sweeping through the first day of competition.

Steamboat’s No. 1 singles player Colin Green is the only player not facing Aspen in the finals. Green will face Durango’s Ryder Searle in the championship match. Searle attends Pagosa Springs, but that school does not have a tennis program. Steamboat’s No. 2 player Gabri Erspamer and No. 3 player Stefan Sortland will have to get past Aspen if they want to earn titles in Saturday’s finals.

The winners will be guaranteed to advance to the state finals Thursday to Oct. 13 in Pueblo. The regional matches will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday in Grand Junction.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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