Wildcat boys tennis team evolving for '09

Tyler Ostby returns a serve at practice on the Ridge. The senior is among Mount Si’s best returners. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Tyler Ostby returns a serve at practice on the Ridge. The senior is among Mount Si’s best returners.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Mount Si’s boys tennis team is going through a transition but looks to bring more fire this fall than in last year’s winless season.

The ‘Cats are coaches once again by Jim Gibowski, in his second season after taking over for longtime coach Gary Olson last year. Mount Si turned out around 25 players, and Gibowski expects big things out of most of them. Top prospects include senior Tyler Ostby, junior Shane Henning and sophomore Dane Aldrich.

“We’ve improved a lot from last year,” Ostby said. “There should be some pretty good matches coming up, especially with our seniors.”

“We’re going to be a little weaker, maybe, on the very top, because of all the past experience we lost,” Gibowski added. “However, I think this team is going to have more depth.”

The program is making the switch to new courts at the high school, after their previous facility was demolished to make room for new classroom portables.

However, due to delays in the construction process, Mount Si was forced to move to temporary quarters at Snoqualmie Community Park on Snoqualmie Ridge, where the team will be until the end of September. This means that there will likely not be any home matches for the varsity team until at least October, since the facility at the park only has three courts. Players, however, haven’t seen much impact from the change at practices.

Another change the team is adjusting to is a new match format. Instead of the previous 5-3 singles-doubles format, the league has changed to a 4-3 setup, and barred team members from playing in both singles and doubles contests in the same match.

“It’s going to make coaches think a little bit more (about) who are the better doubles players, who are the better singles players,’” Gibowski said.

Under the new format, the minimum number of players that have to play has changed.

“Last year it was eight, because you could play singles and doubles,” Gibowski said. “This year, it increases the number of players that have to play, so it goes from eight to ten.

“Even though there are fewer matches, more players will play, so the coaches like that,” Gibowski added. He will be required to present his lineups prior to each contest, and once those have been presented, they cannot be changed during the match. This is a change from last year, when coaches were able to change doubles matchups during the course of competition.

Gibowski looks for Mercer Island and Bellevue to be at the top in the league this season.

Mount Si has a little bit of international flavor this year, as players from two continents joined the program as part of their foreign exchange studies at the high school. The boys, hailing from Germany and Bahrain, will look to contribute to the program, but their addition has already been beneficial for their American teammates.

“Exchange students are great,” Gibowski said.

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