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La Grandeís Tanner Willson beat Pendletonís Sam Reeves, 6-4, in the first set Tuesday. (BRAD MOSHER/The Observer)
by BRAD MOSHER / The Observer
Pendleton’s tennis teams literally blew through La Grande Monday, picking up identical 5-0 sweeps from the Tigers’ squads.
The visiting Buckaroos improved to 7-2 for the season but found only one slight speed bump in their windy win when Tanner Willson handed Pendleton’s top singles player, Sam Reeves, a 6-4 setback in the first set of their match.
Reeves came back for 6-1, 6-1 wins to take the match and avoid the upset, but Willson impressed La Grande coach Mike Schireman with his play in cold and windy conditions with gusts up to 27 miles per hour.
“He had a lot of practices under his belt so he came out and played pretty tough,” the coach said. “And he did it against a pretty good player (Reeves).”
That was the only set that the Tigers won on the boys court all afternoon as the Tigers went with a scrambled lineup against the non-conference foe.
Josh Ebel, who had been playing doubles with Wyatt Schaht, moved to singles with Schaht and matched up against Pendleton’s Peter Anderson. Anderson took the match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.
Schaht, playing in the third singles slot, fell at the hands of Joshua Su. The Pendleton player claimed a 6-1, 6-0 victory to complete a near-perfect sweep of the singles matches for the Buckaroos.
Jeremy Cochrane and Gareth Haug of Pendleton claimed a 6-2, 6-2 win over the top La Grande doubles team of Caleb Owens and Derek Yohannen.
The Buckaroos closed out the win when Henry Holdman and Elijah Becker of Pendleton defeated Sheylan Sands and Zach Sherrod, 6-2, 6-4. For several of the players, the change in lineup may have helped. According to Sands, he improved his play while teaming up with Sherrod.
Even though the win was easy in La Grande, Pendleton had something that La Grande didn’t — a lot of experienced players.
According to Pendleton coach Chris Holdman, the Bucks have five seniors. The only inexperienced part of the team is in the doubles. “Our singles side is really good, but our doubles side is having a tough year. They are young players and are still getting better,” the visiting coach said.
For Schireman, the puzzle is in trying to fit his players in the right places
“We are still trying to figure out who is playing where and who is going to play with who,” said Schireman. “I am going to keep trying and experimenting until I find something that works.”
With the boys and girls teams playing on two different courts, that stretches out the time needed to really evaluate the players, the La Grande tennis coach said. “When they are not in one location where you can just sit and watch everybody, it is going to take longer.”
That changes on the road, when the boys and girls teams are playing on the same courts.
“At this point, I am looking for improvement and also looking for any glaring problems,” Schireman said.
During Monday’s match, the coach said he spotted some improvement in the serving one of his singles players, but at the same time Schireman noted some other problems he needs to focus on during practice. “Stuff like that is what I am looking for right now,” he said.
Youth and inexperience are the biggest stumbling block for the Tigers right now, the coach said. “People have no idea just how tough a game this is,” said Schireman. “Through the years, I have had some of the best athletes — boys and girls — come through this. They all say ‘Wow. This is a tough game.”
According to the coach, if the students start as freshmen, then by the time they are seniors they can be pretty competitive. But they need to work on their hand-eye and foot coordination.
The Tigers travel to Ontario today for a 3 p.m. match that was moved from Tuesday. La Grande will host Umatilla Thursday at 3 p.m. at the high school and EOU courts.
Lady Bucks blitz Tigers
The Lady Tigers had their own problems with Pendleton Monday on the Eastern Oregon University tennis courts as the visitors swept all of the matches, 5-0.
Pendleton’s Jessica Clark handed Kata Sebastian-Azola of La Grande a 6-1, 6-3 loss in singles play, while Cassie Hampton won a 6-0, 6-0 victory over la Grande’s Ashley Orton in the second singles match.
The Lady Buckaroos swept all three doubles matches, but had the most difficulty with La Grande’s top duo. Lauren Mills and Anna Grigsby were on the short end of 6-4, 7-6 (3) scores in their battle with Pendleton’s top tandem — Bailey Bixler and Miranda Mullen.
The Pendleton pair barely avoided losing a tiebreaker to the La Grande tandem.
In the second doubles, Pendleton’s Alma Larios ands Keziah Hampton handed La Grande’s Avery Stanton and Alina Clemens a 6-0, 6-1 defeat.
When Pendleton’s Alex Reyes and Kadysha Reyes won a 6-1,6-1 decision in the third doubles match with Sydney Gentleman and Jasmyne Hickey, that gave the Lady Bucks their sweep.
at LHS tennis courts
Pendleton 5, La Grande 0
Sam Reeves (P) def. Tanner Willson (L) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Peter Anderson (P) def. Josh Ebel (L) 6-0, 6-1
Joshua Su (P) def. Wyatt Schaht (L) 6-1, 6-0
Jeremy Cochrane/Gareth Haug (P) def. Caleb Owens/Derek Yohannen (L) 6-2,6-2
Henry Holdman/Elijah Becker (P) def. Sheylan Sands/Zach Sherrod (L) 6-2, 6-4
at EOU tennis courts
Pendleton 5, La Grande 0
Jessica Clark(P) def. Kata Sebastian-Azola (L) 6-1, 6-3
Cassie Hampton (P) def. Ashley Orton (L) 6-0, 6-0
Bailey Bixler/Miranda Mullen (P) def. Lauren Mills/Anna Grigsby (L) 6-4, 7-6 (3)
Alma Larios/Keziah Hampton (P) def. Avery Stanton/Alina Clemens (L) 6-0, 6-1
Alex Reyes/Kadysha Reyes (P) def. Sydney Gentleman/Jasmyne Hickey (L) 6-0, 6-1.