Steamboat tennis eyes Tuesday matchups | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat tennis eyes Tuesday matchups

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The big date awaits Tuesday for the Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis team.

The squad played through its second of three consecutive home performances Saturday, an 7-0 loss at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs delivered by Fruita-Monument.

The team topped Evergreen on Friday, 4-3, and now hurtles toward a Tuesday triangular in Steamboat against rivals Aspen at 1 p.m. and Vail Mountain at 5 p.m.

"It's pretty big," Steamboat coach Joseph O'Dell said. "Aspen looks pretty close to what they were last year, and last year they were really really strong. We know what we're getting into."

Tuesday's matches against regional foes will go a long way toward deciding where Steamboat's athletes are seeded in the regional tournament, and those seeds could go a long way toward which Sailors finish in the top two at the tournament and advance to the state championship.

"If we get some wins that will help with seeding and get us on the opposite side of Aspen at regionals," O'Dell said. "It means a lot and we're hoping to have a lot of our hometown fans out."

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Saturday didn't offer the squad any wins, but, O'Dell said, it did still offer some confidence.

This was Steamboat's second run-in with Fruita-Monument and though the Wildcats swept all seven matches both times, Saturday's scores were at least considerably closer.

There was no better example of that than at the top of the roster, where Steamboat's Ethan Paulus came about as close as possible to winning his match against Fruita's top singles player, Daniel Lastine, without getting the win.

That was a welcome departure for Paulus from the pair's first meeting, a quick, lopsided sweep last month.

Saturday, Paulus was competitive in the first set, one he eventually lost, 6-4. He fell behind in the second, as well, but rebounded in a major way and ended up winning the set, 6-4.

That sent the pair into a first-to-10 tiebreaker. The score was knotted all the way, each player mixing a few excellent shots with a few regrettable. In Paulus's case, that meant three double faults, and he ended up losing, 10-8, making the final score 6-4, 4-6, 10-8.

But, against an opponent who blasted him earlier this season, Paulus had every chance to win, and that was progress.

"No one split the first time we played them, so we're really happy with getting three people to split," O'Dell said. "That's a huge improvement. You can chalk it up to it not being the first week of the season or being at home, but we're really happy with how everyone played, and the effort heart. It is a confidence booster despite losing 7-0."

Steamboat had two other teams push into a third tiebreaker set.

The No. 1 doubles team with John Hannaway and Luke Borgerding lost 1-6, 6-2, 10-6 and the No. 2 doubles team with Gabe Rabanal and Kyle Nilsson lost 7-5, 4-6, 10-2.

Wyatt Stempel at No. 2 singles lost 6-4, 6-3. Roy Lundeen at No. 3 singles lost 6-0, 7-5. Will Coon and Bridger Boyd lost at No. 3 doubles 6-2, 6-3 and Barret Taylor and Brayden MacDougal lost 6-0, 6-1.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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