THE DALLES tennis player Cole McDowell squares up as he fires back a return shot in his No. 2 singles match Thursday at The Dalles High School. McDowell wound up defeating Cascade High’s Juan Lopez in a pro-set match by a 8-2 margin. McDowell and singles teammate, Christian Munoz, amassed the only wins of the night, as the Eagle Indians dropped their first match since spring break, 6-2.
Photo by Mark Gibson.
After a loss Thursday to Cascade, The Dalles boy’s tennis coach Andrew Hughes expressed his intent to get his athletes’ noses back to the grindstone in practices to work out a few kinks.
The Eagle Indians managed wins from Cole McDowell and Christian Munoz, but the doubles were swept in a 6-2 pro-set loss in a non-league match in The Dalles.
“I think it is obvious that we have some inexperience,” Hughes said. “They need to see the areas to improve in and get those figured out at practices with the drills that we do.”
Using his tough serve and stout net game, McDowell got the ball rolling in his No. 2 singles match against Juan Lopez with an 8-2 decision.
At No. 3 singles, Munoz bounced back from a loss last time out and enjoyed another solid outing on the court in scoring a dominant 8-3 winner over Austin Schaeffer.
Hughes was happy to see two of his top players come through on the singles side.
“I was real pleased with Cole and Christian. It is a credit to the hard work they are putting in,” Hughes said. “Cole is just really improved and is a solid player. Christian played a good match. He served a lot better and was a lot more efficient at the net.”
Playing in his first match of the season, Griffin Martin played in a nip-and-tuck match against Matthias Hawkins where a tiebreaker had to decide matters.
Martin held an early lead, but due to some rust issues, struggled to sustain his edge with Hawkins climbing back into contention to tie the match up at 8-apiece.
In the tiebreaker set, Hawkins notched the final two set points for a 7-5 win and a 9-8 finale.
Ryan DeHart lost his No. 4 singles match 8-3 to Daniel Suelzle to cap the singles slate.
The Dalles endured a tough stretch in doubles play with all four of the matches decided by an average of seven points in the pro-set matchups.
Ethan Semlor and William Coy lost their No. 1 tussle to Kyle Schaffer and Kyle Dizens by an 8-1 tally for their first setback of the 2014 campaign.
“It was a little disappointing,” Hughes said. “They have the tendency to get off to slow starts in their matches and it hurt them a bit in this match. I just think they need to be a little more aggressive at the net. I think they will bounce back from this.”
Since this is their first year playing together, Hughes said that the No. 2 doubles duo of Daniel Spurr and Daniel Santillan, who lost 8-2 to Robert Ellison and Moises Hernandez, will maintain their progression as the season goes on.
At No. 3 The Dalles’ Caleb Turner and Cody McClintock could not find their rhythm in an 8-1 loss to Cascade’s Jake Nelson and Kyle Usselman, and the Eagle Indian No. 4 tandem of Jesus Barajas and Luis Diaz were blanked 8-0 by Mark Simpson and Adolfo Garcia.
In a perfect scenario, Hughes would like to have several of his younger, inexperienced players in the junior varsity ranks, earning a little more seasoning.
Coming off a year where The Dalles lost so many seniors to graduation, Hughes admitted that the rebuilding phase will involve patience and dedication to the sport.
“We just got to make sure that these younger guys, who are really getting thrown into the fray a little too early, keep working to get better each day,” the coach said. “They are going to need to step up for us if we want to be successful. It all comes down to us working towards districts. Our goal has to be getting better and better and they will learn as they go.”
TD hosts Hermiston at 4 p.m. Wednesday.