The Bulldogs put the finishing touches on the regular season with a pair of wins against Hamilton and Corvallis on Saturday.
Whitefish took down Corvallis 5-2 and Hamilton 6-1 in the doubleheader, closing the season out with a 14-1 record in duals and avenging the season’s sole loss to the Broncs.
Head coach Chris Schwaderer said he saw a team that was confident and ready to move forward on Saturday.
“I was really happy with them,” he said. “Just for the last two matches of the year, I really wanted to end on a positive note like that. I wanted to make that transition from the regular season to the postseason. I wanted to feel good, everyone to feel confident and feel like they secured the seeds in the tournament that they deserved.”
In singles play, Brendan Buls picked up a pair of wins at the No. 1 spot against Hamilton and No. 2 versus Corvallis. The Dogs’ other top singles player, Eric Holdhusen, went 1-1 on the day, taking down Hamilton’s Sam Toenjes 6-0, 6-1 but falling to Marius Godard of Corvallis 6-1, 7-5.
Freshman Jayce Cripe also picked wins against both teams at the No. 3 and 4 singles spot.
The doubles team of Colter Upton and Zach Brandt picked up a pair of wins on the day, as did the duo of Jamie Schwartz and Leo Motti.
Schwaderer said he was encouraged by what he saw from both doubles groups, which both could be in the No. 1 doubles spot.
“The No. 1 and the 2 doubles are really encouraging. Even though the No. 1 team lost to Corvallis — I think Corvallis has one of the best doubles teams in the state — I was really happy with the way we played. I got glimpses into what they can do,” he said. “Then in the match against Hamilton, one they lost a couple weeks ago, it was a real battle. They went three sets and rallied, which I think is a testament to their ability to figure what they need to do and work together to get it done.”
Now it’s down to divisionals.
Whitefish heads to Libby for Western A Divisonals play on Thursday and Friday.
Schwaderer said the focus in practice is to not get too serious. Then on Thursday, it’s game time.
“One thing we’ve been doing all year long is have fun. We never let too much seriousness get in the way. We keep it loose, we work on our skills but we do it in way that’s loose. We’re going to go into the tournament hopefully confident, feeling at ease. We’re just trying to maintain that attitude through the week,” he said.
“There’s only four people that can go to state, and there’s a few spots out there that need to be claimed. Someone’s got to step in and have a good tournament.”
Whitefish 6, Hamilton 1
Singles — Brendan Buls, W, def. Khang Truong, 6-0, 6-0; Eric Holdhusen, W, def. Sam Toenjes, 6-0, 6-1; Alan Garcia, H, def Noah Fauth, 6-3, 6-3; Jayce Cripe, W, def. Charlie Passey, 6-1, 6-1
Doubles — Mark Anderson/Forrest Kobelt, W, def Rio Hammond/Cody Kirkbride, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (5); Colter Upton/Zach Brandt, W, def. Will Torres/Phil Melarnik, 6-1, 6-1; Jamie Schwartz/Leo Motti, W, Cannon Hawkes/Bodie Hansen, 6-4, 6-3
Whitefish 5, Corvallis 2
Singles — Marius Godard, C, def. Eric Holdhusen, 6-1, 7-5; Brendan Buls, W, deef. Jaymark Leidle, 6-0, 6-1; Jayce Cripe, W. def. Matt Powell, 6-1, 6-2; Noah Fauth, W, def. Ethan Gager, 1-6, 6-4, 7-5
Doubles — Gabe DeLeo/Caleb Warnken, C, def. Mark Anderson/Forrest Kobelt, 6-0, 6-2; Colter Upton/Zach Brandt, W, def. Ryan Hubbard/Trey Gross, 6-0, 6-1; Jamie Schwartz/Leo Motti, W, def. Walker Buhler/Ben Ericson, 6-1, 6-1