By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
It doesn't matter what size school they play, the Havre High tennis teams won't be intimidated. Just a few days after roughing up some Class AA schools at the Helena Invitational, the Pony boys and girls teams knocked around two more AA schools and more importantly a Central A divisional rival on Tuesday afternoon in Great Falls.
The Pony girls finished the day a perfect 3-0, easily defeating Lewistown, Great Falls High and CMR. Havre lost just four matches in the three girls duals and played some of its best tennis of the season.
Sophomore Amy McLain finished the day 3-0 defeating all three No. 1's she faced, including a hard-fought win over CMR's Jori Erwin.
"Erwin has played all four years for CMR," said Havre head coach Sam Dierman. "That was a good win for Amy. She also defeated (Krista) Brand from Lewistown and she went to state last year. Amy's really getting better every match."
Havre's singles players finished the day with a 11-1 record. No. 2 singles player Crystal Pyrak won all three of her matches including a solid win over CMR's Charlie Murphie. Megan Rice finished with a 2-1 record at No. 3 while Mallory Cresswell was solid at No. 4 going 3-0.
"Our girls singles players have been pretty consistent," Dierman said. "They played pretty well."
For the first time this season, Dierman believes he has found the right pairings for his girls doubles teams. In the past few weeks, he has changed the pairings of his doubles squads often. However, on Tuesday the teams seemed to click. The team of Keelie Solomon and Steph Flatau finished the day 3-0 playing as either the No. 2 or No. 3 doubles team. The teams of Jennifer Gorder and Ryan Hamilton finished with a 2-1 record as did the duo of Sara Suek and Erika Johnson.
"The doubles combinations I had on Tuesday were the best we had all year," Dierman said. "They are really starting to come together and play well."
The Havre High boys team was just one singles win away from also finishing 3-0 on the day. Instead, the Ponies had to settle with a 2-1 record that included easy wins over Great Falls High and Lewistown and a tough loss to a very good CMR team.
The Pony boys fell to CMR 5-4, but Dierman believed that if the singles competition would have consisted of three sets instead of two sets and a 10-point tiebreaker, his No. 1 player, Cody McLain, would have rallied to beat CMR's Josh Horton to provide the winning difference."
"CMR is loaded," Dierman said. "They have 10 boys on their varsity with seven seniors. But if Cody would have played a third set instead of a tiebreaker, I think he would have won. His opponent was getting pretty tired."
Despite the loss, it was still a very dominating day for the Pony boys, especially for the boys doubles teams. Havre finished 9-0 in its doubles matches. Against Great Falls High, none of the Ponies three doubles teams relinquished a single point to their opponents.
The closest matches came against CMR where all three matches were somewhat tight and the No. 3 team of Ian Spencer and Coda Tschida needed a tiebreaker to win its match. Other than the CMR matches, the No. 1 team of Daine Solomon and Jeremy Heninger and the No. 2 squad of Marc Mariani and Gary Wagner cruised through the day.
"Our doubles have just been dominant all year," Dierman said. "They were 9-0 on Tuesday and 9-0 last weekend in Helena."
While the doubles have been consistently good all year long, Dierman was particularly pleased with the performances of his singles players.
Cody McLain finished the day 2-1 with a dominant win over Jeff Ernst, who McLain lost to last season. No. 2 player Kyle Baltrusch also finished 2-1 with solid wins over Brady Ernst of Lewistown and Brian Knutson of Great Falls High. No. 3 Chase Castloo finished 1-2 while No. 4 John Christian finished 2-1.
"The boys singles are coming around and getting better." Dierman said. "The singles are getting more consistent and the doubles teams just can't get complacent."
Havre will be back in Great Falls this weekend for the Great Falls Invitational, where they will face four Class AA teams including a tough Bozeman squad.