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North volleys a come-from-behind win
POULSBO — North’s boys tennis team may be young, but they’re sure capable of pulling off a close, come-from-behind win.
On Friday at the Viking’s home courts the boys volleyed their way to a narrow 4-3 victory over Olympic High School, snagging the season-opener win.
“I was pleased we won, we’re pretty young,” said head coach Jay DeVries. “They’re going to just get better and better once they get more confidence and are mentally tougher.”
Seven of the players are freshmen, and Friday’s contest marked their first competition at the intensified high school sports level, which after a few jitters they handled with style.
No. 4 doubles team, freshmen Chris Gracey and Steven Breitmayer, defeated Olympic’s sophomore duo in two sets, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 2 doubles team, freshmen Shaun McBurney and Alex Olsen, dropped its first set, 6-2, but rallied to defeat Olympic’s junior and senior combination, 6-4, 6-1 in the final two sets.
DeVries said the No. 2 doubles players were overwhelmed in set one, as it was their first-ever varsity match playing together. But once they settled down they played like a well-oiled machine.
“If you let the other team dominate you’re going to get beat and that’s what happened in the first set,” DeVries said of the No. 2 doubles match. “In sets two and three they played their own game and forced the other team to do what they wanted.”
After playing three hours of matches, the team’s overall standing came down to the No. 1 doubles match-up between North’s Jordan Seth and Conner Gallagher, whose the lone senior on the team, and Olympic’s Chris Campbell and Scott Lutz.
Seth and Gallagher came out swinging to dominate the first set, 6-3. In the second set the duo lost a little bit of their focus and therefore the set, 6-4 to Olympic.
Heading into set three the pressure was on, as the fate of a Viking team victory hinged solely on the precision of the No.1 doubles’ rackets.
Sometimes experience trumps skill, and in this contest the card of experience came into play. Seth and Gallagher, a junior and senior, respectively, tapped into cool and collective crunch time play and pulled it off, 6-3.
“Conner played solid throughout. They didn’t get flustered and their experience was important in that match,” DeVries said. “When they won, we won. If they lost, we would have lost.”
Although No. 1 singles player freshman Zach Fohn, narrowly dropped both sets 4-6, 4-6, to Olympic’s senior powerhouse Justin Hike, Fohn definitely established himself as a freshman to contend with.
DeVries said Fohn knows how to manage a game and to set up shots that lead to a score instead of waiting for his opponent to make a mistake.
This was evident on Friday, as Fohn was patient, he hustled and he sure knew how to rob a few points from Hike.
“Zach is taking some of Justin’s pace and using it so he can get some of Justin’s points, he’s very patient,” said Olympic’s head coach Don Patraw as he watched the two volley. “He’s going to be a thorn in my side for the next four years unless we can get him to move to Olympic.”
North’s No. 2 singles player junior Rex Olsen lost 0-6, 0-6; No. 3 singles player junior David Gerstenberger, playing his first varsity match, won 6-0, 7-6, 7-2; and No. 3 doubles freshmen Zach Turley and Sebastian Ford lost, 6-4, 6-3 (North won set 2), 6-4.
On Monday the Vikes played a home dual against Port Angles, and lost 4-3.
Today the Vikings travel to Bremerton. On Friday the Vikes are off to Sequim.