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Singles flight leads Grand Haven tennis team to home quad victory

Nich Wolak • Aug 24, 2016 at 12:30 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Home has been good to the Grand Haven tennis team.

The host Buccaneers won Tuesday’s quad, scoring 19 points to defeat Mona Shores (14) Spring Lake (10) and North Muskegon (five).

Grand Haven finished second at its home quad last week, falling to defending state champion Portage Central (21-16), but bested Zeeland East (10) and Kalamazoo Central (1).

“It’s a little bit better than the past couple years,” said Grand Haven coach Chris Wilton. “We’re really happy with where we’re heading. The second-place finish was better than last year, and we did a little bit better here than we did the past couple years. We’re pleased with that.

“This is our third year in a row winning it, but the past two years it was within one or two points. This year we had it won pretty early. We won by five, so it was good.”

Grand Haven was absolutely dominant at singles on Tuesday, sweeping the flight.

Freshman Noah Bachmann, who went 3-0 on the day at the No. 1 spot, has strengthened an already strong group.

“We had a bunch of younger kids that have really worked hard at it,” Wilton said. “Our singles are really strong and our doubles are really competitive. We’re pretty pleased by that.

“We know our singles lineup is pretty good — moving Noah up to (No.) 1, having to bump Spencer (Sortman, from No. 1 to No. 2) and Riley (Wilton, from No. 2 to No. 3) down one spot has really helped, and our (No.) 4 guy, Nathan (Sexton) is really solid too. Add(ing) Dylan Shenefield and Mason Price, who play year round, at No. 1 doubles (also) really helps.”

Bachmann also won his flight at last week’s quad. He was happy to get an individual and team win on Tuesday.

“It meant a lot to us,” Bachmann said. “It showed that, even though we’re young, we’re still good enough to compete with other teams. Everybody is a great competitor.”

Wilton said he was happy with the way his squad approached the day.

“We handled the wind and the pressure,” he said. “Expecting to win is a different pressure, being the hunter versus being the hunted. Today we were the hunted and we ended up still coming through with that and handling the pressure.

“And the wind. I didn’t hear a single complaint about the wind from our guys, even though it was quite windy at times. And that’s nice. That’s one of the things I really pride myself on, is being able to coach the guys to not complain about things they can’t control. They did really well.”

The Bucs have a few more early-season tournaments before getting into the meat of their schedule.

“We’re looking to move up in the conference and move up in regionals,” Wilton said. “We’d like to have a shot to compete for state. It starts next week. We have a couple more tournaments before that, and we hope to challenge the Rockfords and the Grandvilles and the West Ottawas a bit more. I think we have the kids to do that.”

Lakers take third

The back part of the doubles lineup was good to Spring Lake on Tuesday, giving the Lakers their two flight wins.

Rylan Peets and David Rumptz were victorious at No. 3 doubles, while Logan Briegel and Eduard Lidke shone at No. 4.

Coach Cathy Layson said that it was the beginning of a learning curve for the Lakers.

“(There’s) always room for improvement,” she said. “… We do have a pretty green team. We lost eight seniors — we have some seniors coming in playing varsity matches for the first time. A couple of comments from the seniors were like, ‘This is a lot different from JV.’ They’re a little green, and they’re learning. I think our potential for growth is huge. My (No. 1) singles (Collin Layson) played (No.) 4 doubles last year. That kind of jump just gets in your head. He earned it fair and square. Nobody kind of came even a little close. It’s what he had to do. They’re all experiencing different kind of years. … 10 out of 12 are really like, ‘Woah.’”

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