Hard fought matches in WESCO South 3A League Tennis Tournament result in 5 Shorecrest players moving on to District Tournament

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Robert Mann, Matthew Gardiner, Connor Wakefield, Owen Pierce, Calvin Rice, Zaid Khan

By Coach Rob Mann

The two day adventure of the WESCO South 3A League Tennis Tournament concluded once there was a break in the weather. The athletes brought their best tennis to the courts and provided a plethora of entertainment for the fans. 

Every player represented his school with the utmost dignity and class. The players from all the schools know each other well and were supportive of one another during the tournament. The winners were always humble in victory and losers were always gracious in defeat.

Zaid Khan

Zaid Khan earns 3rd place in the League Tournament

Zaid Khan (SC) got a first round bye. In the second round, he faced Alex Lee (Meadowdale) who won his first round match. Zaid came prepared to play and just dominated Lee, winning the set quickly 6-0, 6-0. 

In the semi-final (3rd round) he faced Steven Anderson (Edmonds-Woodway) who was a formidable opponent. These two played one of the most spectacular matches ever seen at the League Tournament. They are both high caliber tennis players and evenly matched. Anderson has a well rounded game and put a lot of pressure on Zaid. He was a technician and would hit quality groundstrokes that allowed him to play inside the baseline for much of the match. 

Zaid was a defensive magician forcing Steven to constantly hit one more shot. He had big first serves and he found his spots to rip his forehands as well. They split the first two sets and Zaid went up a break in the third set and it looked like he was in control, but Steven had other plans and was able to break Zaid twice in the set to win the match, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. It was a tough loss for Zaid, but he played exceptionally well and was able to take that momentum into the consolation bracket. 

In his next match, he got to play JD Drake (Shorewood). The winner of this match qualifies for the District Tournament and the loser gets to play another match for the alternate spot. Zaid had beaten JD twice during the tournament, but he made sure not to underestimate him. Zaid just stayed consistent throughout the match by keeping the ball in play and forcing JD to make errors. Also, anytime JD came to the net, Zaid would hit vicious dippers that JD struggled to get back over the net. Zaid was able to win this match 6-0, 6-1. 

With the win, Zaid qualified for the District Tournament and now it was only a matter of seeding for his final match. He played Yuli Berisha (Meadowdale) who is a talented player with great skills from the baseline. Zaid dialed up his game another notch and Berisha couldn’t find any answers. Even when Berisha was ripping forehands to open court that seemed like they were going to be winners, Zaid found a way to get to those balls and hit running forehands that put Berisha back on defense. Zaid was dominant in the match and won 6-1, 6-1 to earn the 3rd place in the League Tournament. Each match Zaid improves and he will be a tough opponent for whoever has to face him in the District Tournament next week.

Indigo Vining

Indigo Vining (SC) won his first match in singles against lefty Andy Ho (Lynnwood) by keeping the ball deep and to his backhand. Indigo dominated the first set winning 6-0, but Ho was not going to give up and fought hard in the second set by rocketing flat forehands to Indigo’s feet. Luckily, Indigo was able to hold on and win the second set 7-5. 

The win propelled him into the second round to play Russell Anderson (Edmonds-Woodway) who is a lefty as well. Russell went undefeated during league play and earned the #1 seed. He has a strong baseline game and his forehand is a weapon that constantly puts Indigo on defense. Indigo lost 1-6, 0-6 to the eventual champion of the League Tournament. 

The loss put him into the consolation bracket, but he still had a chance to go to the District Tournament. He had to face JD Drake (Shorewood) who is a player from another era, with his serve and volley tactics. Not many players play that style of tennis anymore in singles, but JD does it with perfection. The match was closer than the score reflected and I am sure that these two freshmen will be battling out for the next three years. Indigo lost 1-6, 0-6 to get knocked out of the tournament.

Owen Pierce and Calvin Rice

Calvin Rice and Owen Pierce - place 3rd in doubles

The duo of Calvin Rice and Owen Pierce (SC) who played singles all year paired up to play doubles in the postseason had a first round bye. In the second round, they faced David Lin and Ben Borgida (Shorewood) who really should have been seeded higher in the tournament. This was a tough match for Shorecrest because Shorewood had momentum on their side after winning the first round match and Calvin and Owen had yet to play a match. Beyond that, both Lin and Borgida had big serves that made it nearly impossible to break them. Thus, the best chance for Calvin and Owen to win was to hold all of their service games, which they didn’t. Shorecrest lost 2-6, 4-6 to a tough crosstown rival who eventually earned 2nd place in the tournament. 

The defeat fueled their desire to do better in the future matches in the tournament. In the consolation bracket, they competed against Jeremy Perreault and Christian Gill-More (Mountlake Terrace) and came out strong and earned a lopsided victory by minimizing their unforced errors. Calvin and Owen won 6-1, 6-0. 

They had to win their next match against Sam Browne and Jude Wilcox (Edmonds-Woodway) to qualify for the District Tournament. They started strong in the first set and a half hitting in all aspects of tennis and had a big lead in the second set. It slipped away with some unlucky bounces and unforced errors, which allowed Edmonds-Woodway back into the match. Owen and Calvin finally decided in the second set tiebreaker to take charge and dominate on the court, winning 6-3, 7-6 (3). 

They had to wait until day two to determine who they would play in their final match to figure out who would be the third and fourth seed for the District Tournament.

Connor Wakefield, Matthew Gardiner

Matthew Gardiner and Connor Wakefield - place 4th in doubles

Matthew Gardiner and Connor Wakefield (SC) dominated the first round against Jake Britton and Kallen Kinney (Meadowdale) by taking the net early and putting volleys away. Shorecrest won 6-1, 6-0. 

In the second round, they had to face the toughest doubles team in the tournament of Blake Gettman and Ethan Farley (Shorewood). The Shorewood team have been playing doubles #1 together for the last half of the season and they really are a cohesive unit out on the court. Their match experience together has really helped them to develop solid doubles tactics that made it difficult for Matthew and Connor. 

Matthew Gardiner

Shorecrest played tough through the whole match and only a couple volley and service errors are what cost them the match against Shorewood. Matthew and Connor lost 3-6, 4-6. 

In the consolation bracket, they faced Aden Le and Kai Magbuhat (Mountlake Terrace) who played #1 singles and #2 singles all season. Connor and Matthew elevated their game and took the match with ease winning 6-1, 6-0. 

In the next match the faced the #1 seeded team of Grant Oliver and Drew Warner (Edmonds Woodway) This was the first match on Day 2 and Shorecrest had a rough start for the first half of the set, but they finished the first set strong with put away volleys and overheads. 

In the second set, Edmonds Woodway started poaching more and they were rewarded for it by hitting winning volleys off the Shorecrest return. The teams split sets and had to play a 3rd and final set to determine who would earn a spot to the District Tournament. Shorecrest decided now was the time to take control of the match. 

Matthew Gardiner

Matthew was playing large at the net and terminating points with excellent volleys and overheads. Connor was the lob master. He tracked down just about every lob and sent lobs back that would constantly fall just inside the baseline causing Edmonds Woodway to miss the next shot. After a long see-saw battle, Shorecrest prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 and earned a spot to the District Tournament. 

Their day was not done because they still had to play the 3rd/4th place match to determine seeding. Their opponents were the other Shorecrest team of Calvin Rice and Owen Pierce. They were all glad to be playing in a non-elimination match. Calvin and Owen dominated the first set with big serves and monster groundstrokes. Matthew and Owen fought back in the second set with solid net play. After they split sets, they played a 3rd and final set to determine the match and Calvin and Owen were able to win by just being more consistent than Matthew and Connor. Calvin and Owen won 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 to earn 3rd place and Matthew and Connor earned fourth place in the league tournament.

Shorecrest Team qualifies 5 players to the District Tournament

The Shorecrest Tennis Team had a strong showing at the League Tournament by qualifying 5 players to the District Tournament that will take place October 26th and October 27th starting at 11am if weather permits. They will play in a double elimination tournament that is made up of WESCO North, WESCO South, and Northwest. The top performers at the District Tournament will advance to the State tournament that take place in the spring.


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