South Tahoe tennis beats Truckee to claim 3A Northern championship
South Tahoe senior Bryin Schouten was nervous knowing his third match on Friday, Oct. 6, could clinch the 3A championship for the Vikings.
With the Vikings ahead 9-8, and all other matches complete, all eyes were on Schouten’s battle against Truckee’s Elliott Rost.
“The match was nerve-wracking to watch,” said Vikings senior captain Mickey Sullivan.
Rost took a 3-2 lead and things got real tense.
“It was nerve-wracking at first and then I went down 2-3 and got really nervous,” Schouten said.
Vikings head coach Will Davenport was hoping Schouten could pull through because he said tiebreakers are a “crap-shoot, full of pressure points and anyone can win.”
But Schouten won a couple of points, Rost got frustrated and the match changed.
“He started getting mad and I knew if I sunk down to that level it wouldn’t be a good thing for me,” Schouten said.
Schouten rallied to pull out the victory. The team captain was never in doubt.
“I had faith in him,” Sullivan said. “Bryin always pulls through. I knew he had it.”
Davenport led the charge onto the court to celebrate the 10-8 victory over their rival at the Reno Tennis Center.
“It was very rewarding to see these guys do it,” said Davenport, a fourth-year head coach. “One of the parents said at the beginning of the year we looked a little rag-tag. And we did. But we worked all year and a lot of kids worked together, some came back from injury, and we tried tons and tons of different matchups with our doubles, and it all came together in these last couple of weeks. It was real satisfying to see these kids achieve what they’ve been working for all season.”
The Vikings had not beaten Truckee this season, but finished closer each time they played losing 12-6 and 10-8 before flip-flopping the result.
It was the second straight 3A Northern region title for the Vikings.
“Just the thought of beating Truckee was cool and to do it was even better,” Sullivan said. “They were not expecting it, we were the underdogs and they seemed shocked.”
Truckee had the top ranked player, Zach Haas, and also the best doubles team in Zach Larson and Noah Warren. They are ranked No. 1 for their respective individual tournaments that start late this week.
Sullivan, sophomore Juan Vazquez and Schouten each won two matches apiece for the Vikings, putting forth six points toward the team total and outscoring the Wolverines 6-3 in singles.
“Going into the match I’m thinking we’re already down 6-0, so we had to cobble together 10 points somewhere else,” Davenport said.
Quinn Proctor and Pete Sullivan won a pair of matches and Sonam Sherpa and Kailer Womack and Ian Smith and Jeremiah Dahl each earned points to contribute to the win.
“Truckee has a ton of talent at the top but I think we’re deeper and we showed it in the rest of the matches,” Davenport said. “Those points count the same.”
The Vikings will compete Friday, Oct. 13, and, hopefully, Saturday, Oct. 14 in the 3A Northern Region singles and doubles tennis championships at Tahoe Donner Association in Truckee.
Sullivan is the third seed, Vazquez is No. 7 and Schouten is No. 8 in the 16-player bracket.
Proctor and Sullivan are the No. 3 seed, and teammates Sherpa/Wpomack are No. 7 and Smith and Dahl are No. 15.
Three from each bracket will qualify for the State Championships a week later in Las Vegas.
“It’s very hard to qualify but our best players can play with anybody,” Davenport said. “We’ve just gotta try to make some magic.”