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Players smash into tennis season
By KIPP ROBERTSON
NORTH KITSAP — With their rivals from Sequim defeated in the first match of the season, the Vikings prepare for a smooth year in tennis.
The Viking tennis team ended last season with a record of 12-2, with both losses coming at the hands of the Sequim Wolves. But with a final score of 4-3 against the Wolves on Wednesday, the team has overcome last year’s demons.
There are no seniors playing on the team this year, but that is not a reason for concern, said head coach Jay DeVries. The juniors playing this year are dedicated to the team and DeVries said he has confidence in his varsity team.
“There are lots of strong tennis players this year going into varsity,” DeVries said. “There are a lot of future potentials too.”
Over the summer, 39 students tried out for the team, a much larger number than is necessary for a regular season. DeVries reduced the team to 29 players. That amount is still more than the team usually has, which will make it even more difficult for students to make the varsity team.
Along with a large team, the skill and dedication of many of the returning players will make it even more challenging for new players to advance to varsity.
“If someone played last year and hasn’t improved since then, they probably won’t be making varsity,” DeVries said.
With the talent on the team this year, it takes more than showing up to practice to stand out, DeVries said. Players such as junior Zach Fohn, who went to state last year for the 3A division, dedicate more time to practice then what is required, he said.
Besides a dedication to the sport, communication this year will play a key role in the team’s success, Fohn said. This is especially true for the doubles players, who need to work together and last year lost their matches in state, he said.
“We should be able to run through most of our matches this season,” Fohn said. “Our team is looking good, we just need keep working on the small things like volleys.”
There will be some fine-tuning and the rest is up to the players, DeVries said.
For the Kingston Buccaneers tennis team, players is something head coach Ken Crawford has plenty of.
The Bucs have increased in size from a humble eight students trying out during the first year, to more than 40 students trying out this year.
“I have come to the point where if someone comes up to me I just have to turn them away,” Crawford said.
The number of players this year makes it difficult for Crawford to hold practices with Kingston’s small tennis courts and keeping them focused has become an issue, he said. Crawford now splits practices into two separate times during the day and is thinking of starting a third practice, he said.
But a large team has its upsides too.
Crawford has notices a significant increase in dedicated players, including returning players Richie Sander and Trevor Shaw and said his doubles teams look promising this year.
Last year the Bucs ended their season 7-6, and Crawford expects the team will do just as well.
“I’m having a hard time predicting how well we will do this season, but we should become a pretty tough competitor.”