Fighting for every point: Mount Si tennis team growing in spite of tough league

It’s tough as the underdog. After a punishing session against Bellevue last Thursday, Sept. 27, the Mount Si boys tennis team grouped on the bleachers, counting their successes and trying not to dwell on the Wolverines’ 7-0 win.

Facing heavyweights like Bellevue, Lake Washington and tennis power Mercer Island in the KingCo league, Mount Si celebrates wins as they come—especially the Sept. 11 team win over Juanita—and finds triumphs in smaller ways.

“We fought for every point,” said doubles player Logan Cochrane, following his and teammate Drew Hadaller’s 6-2, 6-1 set against Bellevue. “The score doesn’t always reflect how we play.”

There is always a lot of effort from Mount Si, adds senior doubles player Rhett Haney.

“Most of our matches are competitive,” he says. Players improve over the season, and are proud of that.

“Sometimes, near the end of the year, they get banged up,” says head coach Jim Gibowski. “A losing streak like that is tough for guys to bounce back from.

Still, “it’s a really good group of guys.”

Gibowski wants to set some matches with teams outside of KingCo.

“There’s a lot of teams in the state that we could beat. They’re just not in our conference,” he says.

Key players

At the head of the group is senior Josh Hamann, an experienced Robinswood club player at number-one singles.

“Josh has been playing tough guys,” says Gibowski. “One is the loneliest number.”

Hamann has had some successes, winning individual games against challenging opponents.

“It’s just one game, and you’ve got to keep playing,” he says.

“You’ve got to keep being positive,” adds Matthew Griffin, Mount Si’s number-two singles athlete, who is also club experienced, at Sammamish.

Gibowski “told us to hit as hard as we could,” Griffin says. “Just go for it.”

Kevin McLaughlin, at number three, will be a strong prospect with Griffin, should they return next fall. He fared the best out of Mount Si’s players against Bellevue, falling 6-3, 6-1.

Allen Reid is a newcomer to the sport who held down number-four singles spot, faring 2-6, 1-6 against Bellevue’s Dexter Chan on Thursday.

In doubles Thursday, Cochrane and Hadalle teamed up for the first position, with Riley Dirks and Rhett Haney in position two. John Day and Ryan Fischer played number-three doubles. Formerly on junior varsity, the two freshmen play extra, and it shows, Gibowski said.

Spots on the varsity aren’t locked down, and younger players like Day and Fischer can successfully challenge for the right to represent.

“One of the nice things about tennis are the challenge matches,” Gibowski said. “It’s show up or put up. There’s the score—I can beat you.”

McLaughlin was excited about facing Juanita again on Monday; Mount Si beat the Rebels again on team scores.

With the season winding down, Gibowski wants to see stronger serving and more motion out of his team.

“That’s something they can practice on their own in the off season,” he said.

A key to 2013 depth will be play in the offseason.

“Some of these guys won’t play again until next August,” Gibowski says. “If you can’t play in a club, play with each other. A few guys do that—they’re the ones that show.”

Mount Si plays at Liberty Tuesday, Oct. 9. Game time is 3:45 p.m.

Mount Si also plays host to the KingCo tournament this year. Date and time is to be confirmed.



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