FALLON, Nev. — A dominating performance by the singles trio of Jack Miller, Cole Steinberg and Alex Schrage paved the way for the Incline boys tennis team at Fallon on Tuesday.
The three singles players each went 3-0 in match play and did not lose a game as the Highlanders dropped Fallon, 12-6.
“We’ve had great development from Week 1 to Week 5,” said Incline coach Billy Knight, whose team improved to 2-3 on the season. “We’ve got great competition in our singles ranks. I love our singles players. They are the focal point of what our team is.”
Incline’s dominance in the singles matches was aided by Fallon’s youth and inexperience. The Greenwave’s three singles players are in their first year of singles play.
While Miller, Steinberg and Schrage had little trouble with Fallon, Knight said he feels the threesome can compete against just about anybody.
“Our singles players are very good athletes and will do very well,” Knight said. “We hope to get the whole team to regionals so they can represent themselves well, and we’ll see how it goes.”
The Highlanders, though, had trouble breaking through on the doubles courts as Fallon’s top two tandems swept their Incline counterparts. Despite Fallon’s doubles success, the duo of Jack Keller and William Ornburgh slipped past the Greenwave’s Jumel Villacarlos and Jake Evans, 6-4.
Incline clinched the win in the third round when Blake Perry and Cameron Riege blanked Christian Stadtman and Joseph Jameson, 6-0. Nick Witty and Russell Conway also picked up a win, as the pair dropped Villacarlos and Evans, 6-1.
The Highlanders’ doubles teams are littered with beginners, although Knight said he has been pleased with their growth.
“I do love the effort, though,” he said. “We know we are not going to win 11 matches against a lot of these schools. We certainly give a big effort and compete. I’m pleased how they are responding.”
The Northern Division I-A tennis postseason will undergo a makeover this season. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association created regional and state tournaments for schools that generally compete in DI-A or Division III.
In years past, the DI-A and DIII schools (formerly 3A and 2A, respectively) played against their Division I (4A) counterparts in the postseason. This season, however, the DI-A and DIII teams will compete against DI schools in the regular season, but break off for their own regional and state tournaments.
On Thursday the Incline boys hosted a powerful and talented Damonte Ranch team led by Northern Nevada singles champion Jacob Kepplemann.
And Kepplemann did not disappoint, breezing to three straight 6-0 wins over the best Incline could offer. Singles players Stienberg, Schrage and Witty all went 2-1, losing only to Keppelmann.
Unfortunately for the Highlanders, those were the only wins they could put together as they dropped the match, 12-6.
Damonte Ranch’s doubles teams were equally strong and dominated Incline’s teams of Conway/Miller, Perry/Riege and Keller/Ornburg. While losing all their doubles play, Incline probably played its best tennis of the season, producing a more aggressive style and reducing unforced errors. Double faulting had plagued the Highlander doubles teams early this season, but Thursday’s match showed great improvement.
The Highlanders have played the early season with the minimum nine players, but they will look for inspiration and a competetive spark by adding sophomore Zack Zerwick to the roster.
Incline will host Bishop Manogue on Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Incline Tennis Center.