Local tennis team swats Evergreen

— The team was coming off an eye-opening tournament in Grand Junction and looking to improve on its game.

"I think we learned a lot in Grand Junction," Sailor Rich Tifft said. "I think we may have been a little too cocky headed into that tournament and I think we realized that we still have some work to do before the regional tournament."

However, Friday's match was also a chance to try out the new hard courts at the tennis center and play a home match outside.

"I was a little nervous headed into the match," Tifft said. "This may have been our biggest home crowd ever and Evergreen is a pretty good team."

Tifft said it took a little while to get used to playing outside on the Tennis Center's freshly painted courts. But after adjusting to the wind and the sun, Tifft was able to settle down and beat Evergreen's Tom Fisbury in a 6-0, 6-1 match.

"At first, it was a little difficult," Tifft said. "I had a few problems adjusting to the wind and it was hard to serve into the sun. But I love the new courts."

The Sailors have been practicing on the courts for about three weeks and say they are adjusting well. Many of the tournaments that Steamboat competes in, including regionals and state, have hard courts.

"It's a huge advantage having these courts," No. 3 singles player Carter Allen said. "There isn't any type of court we can't play on and we are a lot more comfortable on the hard courts now."

The team's comfort level showed Friday as it rolled by previously unbeaten Evergreen, 5-2.

Winners included Tifft who beat Fisbury 6-0, 6-1 in the No.1 singles match; and Allen who won his match 6-3, 6-2 over Andrew Rauch.

Steamboat's No. 1 singles team of David Upbin and Jeff Aragon defeated Evergreen's Evan Leitch and Kyle Kersting 6-4, 6-4. The Sailors No. 2 doubles team of Matt Mooney and Danny Martin also won their match, defeating their opponent 6-4, 6-4.

Steamboat's last point came in the No. 3 doubles match as Andrew Krueger and Matt Ramsey topped Evergreen's Tim Leitch and John Linton in a 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 contest.

Steamboat's Joe Cutler played a hard-fought match at the No. 2 singles spot, but lost to Evergreen's Tim Wyatt in a 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (5-7) match.

Tifft and the team of Aragon and Upbin improved their dual records to 7-0 this season. Allen is also undefeated at 4-0 and Mooney and Martin are 3-0.

"I'm real pleased with the results of this match," coach John Aragon said. "Evergreen was undefeated coming into this match and they are a pretty solid team. They have a lot of depth and they really challenged us."

The Sailors will square off against Evergreen again today in a match starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

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