With the Southwest Conference district tournament two weeks away, members of the Roseburg High boys tennis team are polishing their groundstrokes and hoping to get their mental games in the right frame.
The Indians are the team to beat in the conference.
They remained undefeated in SWC duals on Thursday, winning all four singles matches and three doubles bouts en route to a 7-1 win over Grants Pass in warm conditions at the Umpqua Valley Tennis Center.
“I thought they all played really well,” RHS coach Warren Bowden said. “We had wins at all positions except No. 1 doubles, and they played pretty well. They played a tough team, battled them tough. It could’ve gone either way.”
Ethan Smith in No. 1 singles, Cooper Ray in No. 2 singles, Justin Leavens in No. 3 singles and Caleb Fink in No. 4 singles all won in straight sets.
Smith, a senior, defeated Anthony Maravilla of Grants Pass 6-0, 6-4.
“I think I played really well in the first set,” Smith said. “Then in the second set I played a little more loose and kind of let him get more points. I closed it out as it got later in the match.
“My serve and forehand, he was struggling with and I was really happy with that. I know I can outhit him; for me, it’s better to take the pace away and let him just destroy himself than me hitting into his strike zone.”
Smith expects to be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed for district. His biggest competition will come from Brooks Lerfald of Sheldon, who’s beaten Smith this season.
“It’s definitely my consistency,” Smith replied, when asked what areas of his game he’s improved on. “Last year I just wanted to hit every single ball hard and just wasn’t thinking things through. This year my consistency has gone up a lot.”
Roseburg’s doubles team that emerged victorious were Jimmy Laws and Brian Powell in No. 2, Wesley Kwok and James Dauterman in No. 3, and Skyler Har and Parker West in No. 4. Har and West overcame a loss in the second set and won 6-2, 3-6, 10-5.
The top two doubles team in the conference squared off. Nicolas Rist and Jaxon Schatza of G.P. pulled out a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Michael Bober and Robbie Clarke of Roseburg.
Rist and Schatza also defeated Bober and Clarke earlier this month in three sets.
“They’re a lot more consistent than any of the other teams we have (in the conference),” Bober said. “That kind of exploits the fact that at times we’re less consistent, but that hasn’t been shown because the other teams aren’t quite the competition they are. They’re just hitting the ball back and putting it in the right spots.
“It shows the talent they have. A lot of times people think the only way you can beat a No. 1 doubles team is to go out there and hit the crap out of the ball. But that’s not what they do and it proves to be very effective. We struggled at times just getting the ball on the court and that ended up costing us the match.”
Bober and Clarke, assuming they don’t take any more conference losses, will likely be the No. 2 seed for district.
“There’s a very good chance that’s going to be a rematch (with Rist and Schatza) in the district finals,” Bober said. “We’re going to work hard in the next couple of weeks and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
The Roseburg boys will host an eight-team tournament Friday and Saturday. Joining the Indians are South Eugene, North Medford, South Medford, Lincoln, Barlow, Newberg and Marshfield.
Play begins at 9 a.m. both days.
Roseburg 7, Grants Pass 1
Singles — Ethan Smith, R, def. Anthony Maravilla, GP, 6-0, 6-4; Cooper Ray, R, def. Jacob Dryden, GP, 6-1, 6-0; Justin Leavens, R, def. Dawson Hinton, GP, 6-1, 6-0; Caleb Fink, R, def. Zach Wright, GP, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles — Nicolas Rist-Jaxon Schatza, GP, def. Michael Bober-Robbie Clarke, R, 7-5, 7-5; Jimmy Laws-Brian Powell, R, def. Jacob Maier-Ben Gavlik, GP, 6-2, 6-3; Wesley Kwok-James Dauterman, R, def. James Baertschiger-Nathan Campbell, GP, 6-1, 6-1; Skyler Har-Parker West, R, def. Reese Polen-Phil Kakarndee, GP, 6-2, 3-6, 10-5.