September 24, 2008

By Christopher Huber

Spartans beat Patriots 7-2 


On the first cloudy day in weeks, the Skyline Spartans boys’ tennis team beat the Liberty Patriots with relative ease Thursday. 

When it was all said and done, Skyline earned its fourth victory of the season, winning 7-2. 

Skyline No. 1 singles player, junior Tyler VanGrunsven, overcame a second-set loss to defeat Liberty’s Thomas Lowes 6-0, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2 in a back-and-forth match that went on nearly a half-hour after the rest of the singles matches. 

“I could have moved him around a little better, but in the second set I couldn’t really do that,” VanGrunsven said after the match. 

VanGrunsven won the first set easily and looked poised to shut down Lowes with his tricky serves and enduring hustle. They finished the set ahead of the rest of the field. 

The second, however, was another story. Lowes just needed the first to warm up.  VanGrunsven lost some of his focus and underestimated Lowes’ ability to work the court. Lowes outlasted him in the set tiebreaker 3-7. 

VanGrunsven carried his frustration into the third set after a long break. He struggled with his short game, hitting easy finishing shots right into the net. Lowes gave him a run for his money early on, but couldn’t get past his second point.

Both players, tired and ready to finish the marathon, maintained their composure for the second half of the third, rallying for long periods as parents and teammates cheered them on. 

A strong server, VanGrunsven ultimately relied on his second serves, Skyline head coach Bettina Gehle said. Committing a lot of first-serve faults, he had to mix up his speed on second serves. 

VanGrunsven said he didn’t expect the big comeback from Lowes. He attributed some of his troubles Thursday to lack of stretching and hydration, but said he’ll work on that next match. 

VanGrunsven improved his record to 3-1, his only loss coming against Sammamish.

Skyline’s No. 2 singles player, Ryan Clark, also won on the neighboring court Thursday. In a little more lopsided victory, the undefeated Clark beat Liberty’s Sho Kato 6-1, 6-0. 

“I just played a solid game, had very few mistakes and stayed consistent,” Clark said after his match. 

The rest of the Skyline team followed suit: Daniel Hadi defeated Liberty’s Matt Weik 6-1, 6-0; Bill Dow beat Sam Andres 6-4, 6-1; Max Kerwien beat Chris Weik 6-1, 6-0; and Andrew Johnson beat Liberty’s Ryan Maio 6-1, 6-1. 

In doubles action, the Spartans’ Dylan Taylor and Alex Hu defeated the Patriots’ Kris Ringor and Andrew Munoz. Although Clark and VanGrunsven did not play a doubles match against Liberty, Gehle said they will look to improve their record from 3-0 Sept. 25, when they face Redmond at 3:45 p.m. at home.

Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or

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