Steamboat Springs boys tennis team loses season opener

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Charlie Smith's name.

It started in a similar way last year.

But with each match, it inevitably got better, and as the Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis team enters the 2013 season, the hope is that Friday’s opening match isn’t an indication of much.

Steamboat, playing Boulder, was swept 7-0 on Friday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

“Even though we got skunked, we had some young players step up and had the older players competing,” coach Don Toy said. “For the first match, I like how they competed even though the scores don’t reflect that.”

It was eerily similar to last year when Steamboat struggled out of the gate before playing well down the stretch.

Although the team had its 14-year regional streak snapped last year, the goal remains to start a new streak.

“Winning regionals is the main goal,” said senior Corbin Diehl, who opened the season playing at No. 1 singles.

Steamboat features an older team that does lack some experience.

The team's three singles players Friday played doubles last season.

But it does have seniors in Diehl, No. 2 singles player Ben Wharton, No. 1 doubles team of Quinn Cain and Zach Dunklin and No. 3 doubles player Aidan Gibbs.

On Friday, the team ran into an experienced Boulder team that always seems to field a quality team.

Steamboat was swept in straight sets at every spot except for No. 3 singles, where Charlie Smith waged the match of the night.

The freshman lost to Jonathan Tari, 6-7, 6-2, 14-16. The deciding set was played as a 10 point tiebreaker.

Each player had multiple chances at match point, but each time the other would battle back. Finally, Tari closed out the match on his fifth try at match point.

“That was fun,” Toy said. “That was a great match for Charley.”

The good news is Steamboat gets right back at it. The team plays at 10 a.m. Saturday against Rocky Mountain High School at the Tennis Center.

“I think you’ll see a different team in a couple of weeks,” Toy said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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