The Bulldogs are feeling good heading into the season’s final stretch after a strong showing in the Bitterroot last weekend.
Whitefish took down Hamilton 7-0 and Corvallis 4-3 in a pair of duals on Friday before competing in the Bitterroot Invitational on Saturday.
Corvallis in particular was a good match for the team, head coach Chris Schwaderer said, and is indicative of how his team has been competing all year.
The team got wins at No. 1, 2 and 3 singles and No. 1 doubles against the Blue Devils.
“They’re definitely one of the top teams in the state and they’re always really solid,” Schwaderer said. “They’ve got really solid No. 1 singles and doubles. We just performed really well and I think we continue to measure up really well with a lot of the competition across the state. Our guys have a lot of confidence and they’re able to go in there and take care of business.”
Carver Gilman was the deciding factor against Corvallis, picking up a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) win over Matt Powell at the No. 3 singles spot to seal the win.
“It was pretty close, but Carver has really been stepping up down the stretch,” Schwaderer said. “He’s just a really competitive kid. He’s athletic and he doesn’t want to lose.”
The Bitterroot Invitational was a good chance to get more court time against some opponents the team doesn’t see too often, Schwaderer said.
No. 1 singles player Brendan Buls won both his matches in the tournament to go 4-0 on the weekend.
“He continues to look sharp,” Schwaderer said. “He just took over the matches. If there’s anything he struggles with, it’s that sometimes he’ll maybe get out of his groove and play the game his opponent is playing. But pretty much this whole weekend he was aggressive and dictating the match.”
The No. 1 doubles team went 3-1 on the weekend, falling to a tough Dillon duo that Schwaderer says he thinks is a favorite for the state championship.
“We matched up well, I think there’s probably a good chance that we’ll see them at the state tournament,” he said.
This week Whitefish will get second cracks at Polson, Flathead, Libby and Ronan.
On Friday they’ll face off against the Pirates and Braves at the Flathead Valley Community College courts, starting at 1 p.m. Then on Saturday they’ll host Ronan at 10 a.m. and Libby at 3 p.m. in Whitefish.
Just two weeks out from the Northwest A District Tournament, Schwaderer says the focus for his team is pumping up the competition as the postseason approaches.
“What we’ve been doing lately is really trying to establish a competitive atmosphere at practice,” he said. “Just thinking about what we have down the road, divisionals and state, we just know we’re going to have to play intensely. We’re hitting the ball hard and we’re just trying to get in that mindset where we’ve got to react, know how to handle competition and be aggressive, come back when we’re down and really develop that psychological mindset that we can and expect to win. I think it’s been paying off.”
Whitefish 4, Corvallis 3
SINGLES — Brendon Buls, W, def. Caleb Warnken, 6-3, 7-5; Jayce Cripe, W, def. Aubry Poitier, 6-3, 6-1; Carver Gilman, W, def. Matt Powell, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5); Ethan Gager, C, def. Highland Lee-French, 6-3, 6-2.
DOUBLES — Mark Anderson-Colter Upton, W, def. Jaymark Leidle-Ryan Hubbard, 6-3, 6-3; Jason Bay-Trey Gross, C, def. Jackson Carson-Joe Brandt, 6-2, 6-3; Cody Henstridge-Weston Buhler, C, def. Pierce Janssen-Tate Benda, 6-3, 6-2.