The Bulldogs got a crack at one of the state’s top teams in Hardin over the weekend, but fell short in a nail-biter.
Hardin took down Whitefish 4-3 at the Cut Bank Tournament, in a matchup decided by a tiebreaker match in the No. 1 doubles.
The Bulldogs posted wins at the No. 1 and 4 singles and the No. 3 doubles.
Head coach Chris Schwaderer said the dual could’ve gone either way.
“They’re probably the favorite to win the Class A state tournament. So I think coming out of that match we felt like despite losing some key spots, we know we can improve and we feel they’re vulnerable and they didn’t overwhelm us,”
In the case of the No. 1 doubles team of Mark Anderson and Colter Upton, the team decided a tiebreaker after making a comeback in the second match.
While the outcome wasn’t what they hoped for, Schwaderer said he was impressed by how hard his doubles team fought.
“The team they played — part of that team was in the state championship match last year — it’s a good athletic team. I actually think we match up well with them, but it just wasn’t our day. I am looking forward to seeing them again down the road,” he said. “It was good to see that they were able to deal with the stress of being behind, the adversity, and being able to fight back, win the match and not throw in the towel. I think it says a lot about the No. 1 doubles team, that they know what they need to do, and psychologically they had what it takes to get it done.”
The Hardin dual was the only loss for the team during the tournament.
They took down Havre, Fergus and Cut Bank by scores of 7-0, 7-0 and 6-1.
No. 1 singles player Brendan Buls went 4-0 on the tournament, while No. 2 Jayce Cripe went 3-1.
Schwaderer pointed to Cripe’s improvement on the court this year.
“He’s just gotten so much more aggressive over the last year. He’s a very athletic kid and I’ve always felt he needs to capitalize on his athleticism to take over some of the matches he’s in, and I feel like he’s starting to do that more and more,” he said. “Playing number two, that’s a really important spot. I’m really encouraged by that.”
This week the team traveled to Libby for a make-up dual on Tuesday after press time. On Thursday they’ll get another crack at Columbia Falls at the Flathead Valley Community College courts.
That starts at 1 p.m.
Schwaderer says the main takeaway he wants out of this week is more reps outside.
Especially with his doubles team, Schwaderer said he hopes to refine some technique and tighten up some details in their game.
“One of the drawbacks from being inside and not having a lot of practice time on the courts is we haven’t had an opportunity to work on some of the finer points of the game,” he said. “Our volleys and our overheads just need a little more practice. We want to get out there and fire some balls at the doubles team and just give them a chance to see a lot of balls and see a lot of balls coming hard and work on handling different speeds and angles and refine their technique a little bit.”
Whitefish 6, Cut Bank 1
SINGLES: 1, Brendan Buls (W) def. Gus Meiwald 8-2; 2, Jaycee Cripe (W) def. Brett Sneed 8-2; 3, Jack Robertson (W) def. John Vermulm 8-6; 4, Dillon Gray (CB) def. Highland Lee-French 8-2.
DOUBLES: Mark Anderson/Colter Upton (W) def. Colby Kraft/Colten Barsness 8-7 (4); 2, Carver Gilman/Ian Calaway (W) def. Donnie Fleeger/ Hayden Harrell 8-1; 3, Jackson Carson/Joe Brandt (W) def. Dayne Barbie/Keenan Eames 8-2.
Whitefish 7, Havre 0
SINGLES: 1, Brendan Buls (W) def. Tommy Brown 8-1; 2, Jaycee Cripe (W) def. Josh Warp 8-5; Jack Robertson (W) def. Mick Chagnon 8-5; 3, Highland Lee-French (W) def. Trenton Maloughney 8-4.
DOUBLES: 1, Mark Anderson/Colter Upton (W) def. Reese Bulkley/Jake Huston 8-7 (7); 2, Carver Gilman/Ian Calaway (W) def. Jack Johnsrud/Josiah Harrison 8-0; 3, Jackson Carson/Joe Brandt (W) def. John South/Theron Peterson 8-2.
Whitefish 3, Hardin 4
SINGLES: 1, Brendan Buls (W) def. Famous Lefthand 8-3; 2, Gabe Passes (H) def. Jayce Cripe 8-5; 3. Kent Swisse (H) def. Jack Robertson (W) 8-7 (5); 4. Whitefish def. forfeit
DOUBLES: 1, Jonathan Noteboom/ Benjamin Noteboom (H) def. Mark Anderson/Colter Upton (W) 8-1; 2, Miguel Lopez/Ryan Old Crow (H) def. Carver Gilman/Ian Calaway 8-3; 3, Jackson Carson/Joe Brandt (W) def. Norman Dawes/Dom Stevens 8-6.
Whitefish 7, Fergus 0
SINGLES: 1, Brendan Buls (W) def. Nate Kindzerski 8-1; 2, Jayce Cripe (W) def. Michael deGuzman 8-0; Jack Robertson (W) def. forfeit; 3, Highland Lee-French (W) def. forfeit.
DOUBLES: 1, Mark Anderson/Colter Upton (W) def. Jayce Philipps/Logan Errecart 8-5; 2, Carver Gilman/Ian Calaway (W) def. Dylan Gatz/Jake Henderson 8-5; 3, Jackson Carson/Joe Brandt (W) def. Rafe Bruchez/Andrew Snyder 8-5.