AHS boys tennis opens season with win at Fruita
Like any team just beginning its season, the Aspen High School boys tennis team has some things to figure out. But once the pieces fall into place, coach Gary Quandt believes it could be a special fall for the Skiers.
Aspen opened its season Saturday with a 5-2 win at Fruita Monument, earning a sweep of the singles matches and splitting the four doubles matches.
“We were missing our No. 2 guy, so that made a difference in the lineup,” Quandt said. “We’ve got a fairly young team. We lost No. 1 doubles in a third-set tiebreaker, and they are a very young team. So we got to work on learning how to win, I think.”
Missing from the lineup due to family obligations was junior Dillon Leasure, who had been the team’s No. 1 singles player the past two seasons. He will be the No. 2 singles player this season, with senior Matthew Lambert taking the No. 1 spot.
Lambert, who hasn’t played on the high school team since his freshman year, cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win Saturday over Fruita’s Jon Blair. Sophomore Alex Ilic, who took fourth at state as a freshman at No. 3 singles, won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles Saturday over Fruita’s Brandon Lovato. Ilic will be the No. 3 singles player again when Leasure returns this week.
Keegan Mehall was the No. 3 singles player Saturday, winning 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 over Fruita’s Daniel Lastine.
“I’m still not sure what my doubles lineup is going to look like. My singles lineup is pretty set,” Quandt said. “But my doubles is still kind of a work in progress. We are going to be doing a lot of experimenting.”
Against Fruita, doubles wins for Aspen High School came from the No. 2 team of Gabriel Suarez and George Gahil, 6-2, 6-1, and from the No. 4 doubles team of Zane Engels and Nathan Bush, 7-5, 6-2.
Losses came from the No. 1 doubles team of Jonah Kelley and David Zalinsky, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, and from the No. 3 doubles team of Christopher Gregory and Dylan DeGraff, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
“We are going to be working through that,” Quandt said of getting the doubles teams set. “You have to have so many matches at the spot to qualify for regionals. We have a couple of weeks to kind of figure that one out.”
The Skiers are coming off one of the best seasons in program history after taking seventh at state in Class 4A. That finish matched the highest finish in program history, the other seventh-place finish coming in 2013.
Aspen will continue its season with a trip to the Bishop Lowery Tournament at Canyon View Park in Grand Junction on Friday and Saturday. Following that, AHS will host its first home match on Sept. 1 against Grand Junction-Central.
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