Englewood faces challenge at regionals

Posted 10/8/08

Englewood’s tennis players face the most important matches of the season this week as they take part in regionals. “We have had a lot of …

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Englewood faces challenge at regionals


Englewood’s tennis players face the most important matches of the season this week as they take part in regionals.

“We have had a lot of improvement over the season and it has been great working with these kids,” Pirates coach Jim Tucker said. “They are eager to learn, work hard in practice and they all have a really great attitude and enjoy the game. But we probably face the best competition we’ve seen all season at regionals. Our kids will play their best and I know they will learn a lot at the regional tournament.”

Regionals determine the state qualifiers. Traditionally, the tournament is Friday and Saturday but that schedule is altered this year.

The first round was played Oct. 8 with No. 2 and 3 singles at Cherry Hills Country Club and the remainder of the matches at Kent Denver.

The courts were dark Oct. 9 for the Jewish celebration of Yom Kippur.

Action resumes Oct. 10 at the two sites with championship and playback matches. Officials reserved Oct. 11 as a rain date in case of inclement weather.

Englewood is one of seven teams at the regionals. They join Wheat Ridge, D’Evelyn, Castle View, Valor Christian, Kent Denver and Denver School of Science and Technology.

Each school can enter contenders in No. 1, 2 and 3 singles and No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 doubles. The tournament is a double-elimination format and the top two finishers in each classification advance to state.

“We have some excellent teams in our regionals. Kent Denver players are all No. 1 seeds this year so you know they will be tough,” Tucker said. “Additionally, there are excellent players on D’Evelyn and Wheat Ridge has an exchange student who hits a serve harder than any high school players I’ve seen in my 26 years coaching prep tennis. So finishing in the top two will really be a challenge.”

The Pirates go into regionals shorthanded and won’t have entries at No. 1 and No. 4 doubles. Tucker said he feels his singles players have the best chance to do well at regionals.

For the first round, Dominic Nguyen faces Don Marks of Denver School of Science and Technology at No. 1 singles and Pirate senior Garrett Shaw faces Daniel Woods of Castle View at No. 2 singles. Chris Nelson is the Pirates No. 3 singles player and faces Paul Bayler of D’Evelyn in the first round.

Englewood’s No. 2 doubles team of Henry Andrykowski and Devin Greer are matched against McDonald and Montoya of Wheat Ridge while the Pirates No. 3 doubles team, Eddie Mendez and Seth Bludnick, face D’Evelyn’s team of Waterson and Burgetes.

This is Chris Nelson’s first season playing tennis.

“I hadn’t played tennis before and didn’t know much about the game,” he said. “Coach Tucker has been great. He has taught me a lot about the game and strategy.”

Nelson started the season playing doubles but then, when there was a shakeup in the lineup as the team lost some players, he switched to No. 3 singles.

“It was pretty hard to switch from doubles to singles,” he said. “In singles, you have to return every shot and you don’t have a partner to play some of the shots. In singles, everything falls on me and not the play of my partner.”

He said he has worked hard to get his first serve in play and feels good that he can put topspin on the ball when he makes a return.

“I have to work on being relaxed out there on the court,” he said. “I have to focus on the game and ignore the pressure of the match and the people watching us.”

Nelson said tennis is fun and he likes to learn to use techniques to put the spin and slice on the ball when he makes a return. The junior said it isn’t really hard to learn those techniques but you have to focus and spend a lot of time practicing those shots to be able to hit them well. He said he has enjoyed the season and plans to come out for the team again next season.


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