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Bulldog tennis stays on winning path

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Whitefish Pilot | April 28, 2021 1:00 AM

By securing wins over Ronan, Polson and Flathead this week, the Whitefish boys tennis team again proved its competitive drive.

The boys took down Polson 7-0 and Ronan 6-1, but that was accomplished through a fight in several close matches.

At No. 1 singles Jayce Cripe defeated Ronan’s Dillon Prettyontop and Polson’s Michael Smith, both in two sets. Whitefish’s Highland Lee-French played at No. 2 singles against Ronan and took three sets to beat Beau Decker after losing the second set. Then he switched to doubles, pairing with Aaron Dicks against the No. 1 Polson doubles team which also went to three sets.

“(Aaron and Highland) played a tough Polson team and also went three sets,” Whitefish boys tennis head coach Chris Schwaderer recalled. “It went deep into the third set before they pulled it out 7-5 and I thought that was really awesome to see because that one could have gone either way and they had a lot of confidence.”

Schwaderer also mentioned Joe Brandt, who usually plays at No. 1 doubles with Dicks, played in his first singles match of the year against Polson. That one went three sets, with Brandt pulling it out in the end, 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-1.

“Joe Brandt went three sets and was down really big in the first set and managed to fight back and get into a tie breaker and win that,” Schwaderer said. “He lost the second set, then cruised in the third set. I thought that said a lot about Joe… that was kind of a test for him and he definitely showed what he could do.”

Whitefish had five total matches extend into three sets against Polson and Ronan, Schwaderer was impressed with the guts it took for his players to battle through each one of those matches; Whitefish won four out of five three-set contests.

“Those were both really great matches (against Polson and Ronan), I thought they said a lot about who we are and I thought the kids really passed a test,” Schwaderer said. “Both teams are good and we had a number of matches that went to three sets.

“In that third set people have to really step up and we did that. I was really happy to see how we handled those three-set matches.”

Against Flathead on Friday, Whitefish defeated the AA school 5-3 at Flathead Valley Community College.

Highland Lee-French, Aydin Mulholland and Austin Gunset all rolled in No. 2-4 singles over the Braves. Mulholland, who is a freshman, pulled out a 6-4, 6-4 win over Flathead’s Quaid Ring and Schwaderer says he sees a lot of potential in the youngster.

“Aydin Mulholland is showing a ton of promise,” the coach said. “He’s been really consistent in all of his matches… He’s definitely a freshman that I think is going to really make an impact at singles.”

Against Flathead Aaron Dicks paired up with Finn Stagg at No. 1 doubles, defeating Braves’ Kutuk White and Ethan Vandenbosch 7-5, 7-6 (6). Whitefish also won at No. 3-4 doubles.

There was a series of tough matches that Whitefish was able to pull off against Flathead as well and throughout the whole week of play, Schwaderer said, he thought the mental toughness of his team showed through.

“I want us when we get to divisionals and get to state, that we don’t just get there but that we can win some matches,” he said. “I think this showed a lot about the psychological makeup of the team and the competitive nature of the team, that they have confidence in themselves.”

Whitefish was set to play Columbia Falls on Tuesday after press time. The boys will play again on Friday in Corvallis and Hamilton.

Whitefish 6 Ronan 1

Singles

Jayce Cripe (W) d. Dillon Prettyontop 6-4, 6-1; Highland Lee-French (W) d. Beau Decker 6-4, 5-7, 6-4; Brady Dresden (R) d. Jack Robertson 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; Jesse Burrough (W) d. Joey Parnell 6-2. 6-0;

Doubles

Joe Brandt/Aaron Dicks (W) d. Connor Cornwell/Vicente Ortega 6-1, 6-2; Fin Stagg/Johnny Nix (W) d. Lorenz Alvarez/Caden Bourdon 6-2, 3-6, 6-2; Austin Gunset/Mason Kelch (W) d. Dylan Schock/Isaac Cantlon 6-0, 6-0

Whitefish 7 Polson 0

Singles

Jayce Cripe (W) d. Michael Smith 6-0, 6-2; Joe Brandt (W) d. Trent Wilson 7-6 (7) 4-6, 6-1; Jack Robertson (W) d. Tate Berentsen 6-1, 6-1; Jesse Burrough (W) d. Tristan Clifford 6-0, 6-1.

Doubles

Aaron Dicks/Highland Lee-French (W) d. Torrin Ellis/Owen McElwee 6-4, 2-6, 7-5; Fin Stagg/Johnny Nix (W) d. Colter Wilson/Brock Henrickson 6-2, 6-1; Austin Gunset/Mason Kelch (W) d. Otto Lund/Noah Trosper 6-4, 6-1

Whitefish 5, Flathead 3

Singles

Nolan White, Flathead, d. Jayce Cripe, 6-3, 6-4; Highland Lee-French, Whitefish, d. Evan Sevaly 6-4, 6-4; Aydin Mullholland, Whitefish, d. Quaid Ring, 6-4, 6-4; Austin Gunset, Whitefish, d. Cody Ramer, 6-2, 6-2.

Doubles

Aaron Dicks/Finn Stagg, Whitefish, d. Kutuk White/Ethan Vandenbosch 7-5, 7-6 (6); Tommy Wells/Drew Lowry, Flathead, d. Johnny Nix/Mason Kelch 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5; Connor Kelly/Jesse Burroughs, Whitefish, d. Ezra Epperly/Fynn Cox 6-3, 6-3; Neil Bennett/Jack Peppmeier, Whitefish, d. Beau Desmul/Dylan Rehbein, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

photo

Bulldog Mason Kelch plays in a doubles match with partner Johnny Nix against Flathead on Friday at FVCC. (Whitney England/Whitefish Pilot)