Esky too much for Gladstone netters
ESCANABA — It was a clean sweep for the Escanaba Eskymos Wednesday as they posted an 8-0 tennis victory over the Gladstone Braves.
No. 1 doubles was very competitive, however, as Esky seniors Addam Claes and Brandon Kangas outlasted Gladstone seniors Sean Holm and Danny Pederson 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the day’s lone three-set match.
Claes-Kangas were up 5-2 in the final set, then double-faulted, an error which seemed to raise the energy level of their opponents.
Holm-Pederson rallied to tie the score at five before Claes-Kangas regained the upper hand.
“They got a quick couple games on us,” said Kangas. “We knew if they got hot, we could end up in a tie-breaker in a hurry. It was a little different playing them. They’re the best players on their team for sure. We knew they weren’t going to lay down for us. We just had to stay relaxed. After playing the first set, we knew what we had to do to pick at their weak points.”
This was certainly a change of pace for Holm and Pederson, who normally play No. 1 and 2 singles, respectively.
“It was quite an adjustment playing doubles,” said Holm. “We’re not used to having two extra people on the court. Their overhand shots were pretty effective, but I think we shocked them in the beginning.”
Pederson said the double-fault was kind of a turning point at the point of the match.
“We won three games and after that we definitely had momentum,” he added. “At that point, we thought we could do it. I’m pretty happy with how we played. It’s bit of a confidence boost when you can get to the third set against arguably the best No. 1 team in the U.P.”
Braves’ coach Dan Williams was pleased with the effort by Wednesday’s No. 1 doubles unit.
“They wanted to try it to see what they could do and they did a pretty good job,” he said. “We’re very young this year. We’re playing six freshmen and this is quite a learning experience for them. This is a rebuilding year for sure.”
Esky coach Tom Penegor came away impressed with the play by Holm and Pederson.
“They gave us every bit of competition we wanted,” he said. “We have to tip our hat to their No. 1 doubles because they did very well. Dan does a real good job with his guys. Not only do they get tennis lessons, but they get lessons in life.”
An overhead shot into the backcourt enabled Esky senior Soren Thompson to complete a 6-0, 6-4 triumph over Tyler Barteld.
“He was playing real good,” said Thompson. “I couldn’t return some of his serves. Then, I started getting some of my serves in. I just kept the ball in play and finished out the points. I’m hoping to win the next couple matches and do good in the U.P. (Division 1) Finals.”
Penegor was pleased with Esky’s effort following Tuesday’s 4-4 tie with Kingsford.
“We were coming off a disappointing effort against Kingsford,” he said.
“We didn’t come ready to play which you can’t do against them. They’re too good. I’m glad the guys bounced back from that. Hopefully, they learned their lesson.
“This was the last chance for our seniors to play Gladstone. We mixed up our lineup and I think it was good everybody.”
Esky travels to Menominee today for a 4 p.m. match. The Braves host Munising today at 3:30.
No. 1 — Thompson, E, def. Barteld, 6-0, 6-4; No. 2 — Valentine, E, def. Torvinen, 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 — Pascoe, E, def. Flaminio, 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 — Stevens, E, def. Soderman, 6-0, 6-1.
No. 1 — Claes-Kangas, E, def. Holm-Pederson, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5; No. 2 — Carne-Grassel, E, def. Noblet-Dawson, 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 — Wilson-Hayes, E, def. Stoken-Maki, 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 — Mayville-Burch, E, def. Lenards-Smith, 6-1, 6-1.