Contributed photo/Beverly Nañez
The Dalles tennis player Ethan Martin returns a backhand volley in varsity action this season. Last Friday and Saturday in Hermiston, Martin and No. 1 doubles partner, Devam Patel, clinched a team-best sixth place. Andy Lopez was eighth on the singles side.
As of Tuesday, May 15, 2018
With an entire varsity roster of unseeded players, The Dalles boys’ tennis coach Shea MacNab called last weekend’s district performance something to build on.
Andy Lopez won three singles matches and the No. 1 doubles tandem of Ethan Martin and Devam Patel combined for three victories, including an upset of the eighth-seeded Mountain View duo to lead the Riverhawks at the 5A Special District 1 Tournament ending Saturday in Hermiston.
“We went into this district tournament not being able to seed any of our players, but that did not stop our boys from making a mark on this year’s tournament,” MacNab said. “The boys competed hard this year and we added some new faces to our district lineup.”
After Friday’s first day, most of TD’s players were eliminated from district contention with only Lopez, Martin and Patel still alive.
Martin and Patel won their first two matches and then lost to the overall No. 1-seed, Summit, to move into the consolation rounds, where the first matchup on the docket was an eighth-seeded Mountain View duo that boasted an 18-4 record on the year.
Not deterred, Martin and Patel played their most fundamentally-sound match of the season to pull off an 8-4 pro-set shocker to advance another round.
“That was one of the most exciting doubles matches I have seen in four years as the head coach,” MacNab said. “Ethan and Devam played with high energy and focus. They communicated well with one another and executed an almost flawless game plan.”
That Mountain View triumph vaulted Martin and Patel to the fifth and sixth place match, where they settled on sixth-place honors, while playing against some solid tandems.
“They finished sixth overall, which once again, was an outstanding performance for a team that was unseeded and there were 26 doubles teams in the tournament,” MacNab said.
Lopez lost his first No. 2 singles match and then went on to win his next two contests Friday to move into Saturday’s consolation semifinals.
In that tussle, Lopez added a third win to his record to vault into the championship final, until ultimately losing in that contest, which placed him eighth as an unseeded player.
“Andy had a very impressive run and coaches from several other teams complemented Andy on his focus and consistency,” MacNab said. “Andy is only a sophomore and we are looking forward to watching him in future seasons. He is such a great athlete to be around, as he is a fierce competitor, and will put in the work to improve his game.”
Given how well his team played at districts, MacNab said the expectations will rise moving forward, so that means the 31 athletes he started the year with will now be expected to work diligently in the offseason to keep their varsity spots.
That level of competition should be a good thing for the players, as they strive to get back to district and state prominence.
“Overall, we had a great season, but ended on a high note with an outstanding district performance,” MacNab said.