Bulldogs tennis goes 3-1 in first week of competition

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Brendan Bulls returns a shot during a win over Columbia Falls Thursday at Flathead Valley Community College. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

The Bulldogs are off and running on the season, notching three wins and a loss in their opening week.

The team defeated Ronan 6-1, Columbia Falls 6-1 and Polson 5-2 last week but fell to Dillon 6-1.

Carver Gilman had the lone win at the No. 3 singles spot in the loss to Dillon, defeating Chandler Steadman 6-2, 6-1.

Polson defeated Whitefish at the No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles spots.

Whitefish’s top singles player, Brendan Buls, went 3-1 on the week, and head coach Chris Schwaderer said his lone loss against Dillon’s Brad Rakich was an early season rematch of last year’s state title match, which had the same result.

Despite the result, Schwaderer said he’s been impressed by Buls early on.

“I think he looks great. He’s so intense and so competitive, he loves tennis so much that it’s not something he just rolls out of the winter season and on the court for. He’s been thinking about it, he’s been working on it throughout the winter,” Schwaderer said. “He did have a tough go with the kid from Dillon, but they were very close and this time Brendan didn’t have his best day.”

Schwaderer said he’s also liking the way his No. 1 doubles team of Mark Anderson and Colter Upton is playing.

The duo went 3-1 on the week, dropping their only match to Dillon.

“They’re looking really good. I’m really high on them and what I think they can do. They play well together and have really complementary skills. For this early in the season, I think they look really strong and impressive. They should be a force this year,” he said.

As far as how his team as a whole has looked after a week, Schwaderer said besides a slow start to Saturday against Dillon, he’s happy with how things are shaping up.

“I think we’re looking good. We had a decent winter where we had the chance to play occasionally throughout the winter so I didn’t feel like we came in ground zero or anything. Considering everything, we’re in good shape,” he said. “It wasn’t like we got dominated [by Dillon] or anything, it just wasn’t our day. Then we turned it around against Polson and looked a lot sharper. It was like a completely different team.”

This week they traveled to Libby on Tuesday after press time, and over the weekend they’ll head east to the Cut Bank Invitational.

The Cut Bank Invitational is one Schwaderer often points to as a marker for the season, along with the Bitterroot Invitational at the end of April.

“Cut Bank is a big tournament. Between that and the Bitterroot tourney, we’ll play a lot of tennis,” he said. “This is one of the first opportunities normally where we actually get to get outside and play a number of matches, maybe put together some different combinations. I think we start to see things come together as we get more reps and get more comfortable on the court. I think it’s a really important tournament for us, to see who we are and what we need to do.”

Whitefish 6, Columbia Falls 1

SINGLES — Brendan Buls, W, def. John Gilk, 6-0, 6-0; Jayce Cripe, W, def. Neils Getts, 6-2, 6-4; Camryn Lingle, CF, def. Carver Gilman, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4; Jack Robertson, W, def. Bobby Dewbre, 6-0, 6-0.

DOUBLES — Mark Anderson/Colter Upton, W, def. Trey Perkins/Colton Byrd, 6-0, 6-0; Camren Ross/Jackson Carson, W, def. Malachi Brower/Caleb Reinsburg, 6-2, 6-3; Tate Benda/Joseph Houston, W, def. Dyllan Anderson/Cameron Byrd, 6-1, 6-1

Whitefish 5, Polson 2

SINGLES — Brendan Buls, W, def. Joe McDonald, 6-1, 6-0; Jayce Cripe, W, def. Kendal Forman-Webster, 6-4, 6-0; Colby Devlin, P, def. Carver Gilman, 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 11-9; Jack Roberts, W, def. MaKauley Morrison, 6-2, 6-0.

DOUBLES — Mark Anderson/Colton Upton, W, def. Trevor Schultz/Anton Lefthand, 6-1, 6-3; Michael Smith/Tai Schriver, P, def. Jackson Carson/Joseph Houston, 5-7, no score second set, 10-4; Tate Benda/Brendon Mendoza, W, def. Ryan Doss/Kenton Sisler, 6-2, 6-1.

Dillon 6, Whitefish 1

SINGLES — 1, Brad Rakich, D, def. Brendan Buls 6-3, 6-3; 2, Matthew Knight, D, def. Jayce Cripe 6-2, 6-1; Carver Gilman, W, def. Chandler Steadman, 6-2, 6-1; Marcus Sandoll, D, def. Jack Robertson 6-1, 6-2.

DOUBLES — Mark Southam/Nate Leonardson, D, def. Mark Anderson/Colter Upton 7-6 (97), 6-3; 2, Turner Sawyer/Jo Guillen, D, def. Joseph Houston/Brandon Mendoza 6-1, 6-0;3, Kole Lappe/Jett Mosher, D, def. Jackson Carson/Tate Benda 6-3, 6-2.

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