BOYS TENNIS: Bulldogs top tougher Totems

Players stepping up to the challenge pushed Foster to a 5-2 boys tennis victory at tenacious Tyee on Friday, Sept. 28.

Senior singles players Gary Singh and Son Thai were unavailable for action due to illnesses.

"Guys stepped in to do an admirable job," said Bulldog head coach Sopheak Ngeth about his 4-5 Seamount League charges. "The boys that have seen limited action fought hard and our experienced guys played steady."

The first match victory for Foster was a quick, 6-1, 6-2, No. 2 doubles win for Michael Nguyen and Bikram Samra against Marius Tomdyo and Alex Mullin, but Tyee began to show its greater toughness than in past years in the No. 2 doubles event.

Huan Nguyen and Billy Aman swept to a 6-1 first set victory versus the Totem pairing of Jimmy Padua and Anthony Chu. Battling Tyee held a 5-4 lead in the second set before Foster's duo sandwiched two service breaks around a hold of serve to carry themselves to the triumph.

"We kind of started focusing and paying more attention in the second set," said junior Totem Chu. "I also served better."

No. 3 singles featured a three-set donnybrook in which Bulldog Alan Flores emerged with a 6-0, 5-7, 10-6 win against Brook Negussie. The final two sets showcased long rallies in a more strategic than power emphasis.

In No. 1 singles Davidson Chu held off the determined bid of Kevin Huynh, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, as the Bulldogs gained their fourth victory. Chu adjusted to what he noticed about the tennis balls he and Huynh used.

"I thought this set of tennis balls was losing its pressure more quickly than usual," he observed. "The balls were not jumping off the racket as strongly. When I adjusted for that, I was able to place the ball better."

Kyle Kennedy of the Totems stroked strongly to outlast Armen Papyan, 6-3, 4-6, 13-11, in the No. 4 singles for Tyee's lone match triumph.

"Once I was at 3-3 in the first set, I really started getting positive thoughts," said Kennedy. "It was a mental game and I needed to focus better. I got a little overconfident in the second set and had to get the focus back to win a tough third set."

Martin Obrero showed good discipline against Russell Camat before Bulldog senior Camat posted a 6-4, 6-3, No. 2 singles win.

Tyee defaulted the third doubles as it has only enough players to field in six matches. Defaults have become almost customary in team match ups that have Seamount teams this season.

Utilizing the two public courts as well as the beautiful school courts, all varsity matches started at approximately the same time for quicker results under the patchy blue skies amid mid 70's temperatures.

With its first tennis team win (against Renton) over a number of years, the 1-7 Tyee squad is building strong positive attitudes and expectations under head coach Ryan Fike, who took over the program in spring when Seamount tennis bid farewell to the long standing boys and girls regimen of playing in the same season.

Fike played college tennis at Fresno College before earning his USPTA coaching rating and now resides in Normandy Park.

"We're breaking past patterns. Tyee is no longer an automatic out where opponents merely have to field a team against us," Fike said. "For the first time, all our matches have been competitive. We even held a 2-1 match lead against (undefeated 9-0) Kennedy. I told the kids they needed to have higher expectations of them. All expectations, including in life, need to be higher.

"I belong to the Central Park Tennis Club in Kirkland which has donated 40 good quality rackets and tennis balls to the team. Zach's Tennis (Bellevue) has offered to string the kids' tennis rackets at a minimal price."

Headlining excellent courts with off court chairs for players that need rest between points or sets is one visible physical upgrade.

During the matches, former Totem girls players went to Fike expressing an interest to begin playing tennis again in the spring. Fund raising is also being discussed and planned for the girls season.

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