By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
With a couple of breaks, it could have been a complete sweep for the Havre High tennis teams. The Pony girls had another great afternoon, sweeping C.M. Russell and Great Falls High in dual tennis action.
The Pony boys came up just short of their own sweep, defeating Great Falls High, but unfortunately coming up just short against the top-ranked Class AA Rustlers.
The loss to CMR was particularly tough for head coach George Ferguson and his boys players because they were so close to ending the Rustlers' 11-match dual winning streak.
The singles tandem of Daine Solomon and Kyle Baltrusch won huge matches to get things going for Havre and the No. 1 doubles team of Gary Wagner and Marc Mariani knocked off the No. 1 doubles team in Class AA.
"Our boys team had a very up and down day in Great Falls," Ferguson said. "Daine and Kyle played amazing tennis against two very good players and Gary and Marc beat the best doubles team in Class AA."
Indeed, Solomon, who moved into the No. 1 spot for this week, knocked off CMR's Josh Horton in a three-set marathon. Solomon grabbed the first set 7-6 with a tiebreak, but lost the second set 6-4. Solomon then rallied to win the third set in a tie break.
Baltrusch may have lost his top spot for the week, but he certainly didn't play like it. He crushed CMR's Alex Baaden 6-2, 6-2 - a player who took Solomon to three sets last week.
"Kyle was just outstanding," Ferguson said. "He was sharp right from the start."
Havre's other win came from Wagner and Mariani, who have been playing superb tennis in recent weeks. "Those three matches were huge wins for those kids and our team," Ferguson said. "It shows that on a given day our top players can play with anyone else's top players. Unfortunately, our depth kept us from getting that decisive point."
However, Havre's good fortune would stop there. No. 3 and No. 4 singles players, Lucas Hamilton and Scott Miller, were defeated handily as was the No. 2 doubles team of Coda Tchida and Billy Wagner. The No. 3 team of Chase Castloo and John Christian had a chance to pull a tie in the dual, but lost a very tough match to Nick Richards and Shawn Christopherson, 6-4, 7-5.
The dual against CMR took its toll emotionally and physically on the Ponies in their second dual against Great Falls High.
Despite some sluggish play, Havre hung on for a 4-3 win as some of its younger players stepped in to win some big matches.
"I though we lost a couple of matches we shouldn't have, but we got big wins from Scott Miller and John Christian and Chase Castloo to seal the dual."
Those matches became important after Solomon was defeated by the Bison's No. 1 player Spencer Gray. And Hamilton was beaten by David Currie.
Baltrusch and Miller both won their singles' matches with relative ease. Baltrusch cruised past Brian Knutson and Miller breezed by Eric Davey 8-0.
Gary Wagner and Mariani had little trouble in their match, but Tchida and Billy Wagner lost a tough 8-4 match to Korey Alfred and Paul Chaon. Havre was able to secure the win as Castloo and Christian made quick work of T.J. Trost and Jake Daniels in an 8-1 win.
There wasn't quite as much drama with the Pony girls. Havre did score a close 4-3 win over CMR, but trounced Great Falls High 7-0, winning every match.
"Our girls team also had a really good day once again," Ferguson said. "We beat a very good CMR team and looked very tough sweeping the Bison."
Against CMR, Havre got won three of four singles matches and a doubles match to secure the win.
Junior Amy McLain continued to play well, defeating Charlie Murphy of CMR, 6-3, 6-3. No. 3 Karissa Olson won a very tough match against Emily Horton 7-6 (8-6), 0-6, 1-0 (7-1), while Christen Kittelson defeated Brittany Scheer 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7-4).
Havre's top doubles team of Steph Flatau and Keelie Solomon beat Jordan Skovro and Miriam Olignmueller 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7-4) for the Ponies' only doubles' win.
"The dual came down to our two young singles players - Karissa Olson and Christen Kittelson," Fergusson said. "They pulled out come-from-behind wins to push our team to the win."
The win over CMR was solid, but win over the Bison was a downright dominant.
Havre didn't lose a match and barely lost any games in a very strong showing.
"The rest of our team played exceptionally well against the Bison," Ferguson said. "We swept them, which I was really happy to see because we were able to get points from our No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams."
The duos of Kari Gorder and Kristi Hollingshead, and Jocelyn Chagnon and Molly Chagnon both scored solid wins. Gorder and Hollingshead picked up a straight-set win, while Chagnon and Proctor won a tough match over Becca Triplett and Stephanie Palagi.
"If we are going to be a state title contender, we need both Kari and Kristi, as well as Jocelyn and Molly, to step up and they that in Great Falls."
CMR 4, Havre 3
Daine Solomon, HAV def. Josh Horton, CMR, 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 1-0 (7-3); Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Alex Baaden, CMR, 6-2, 6-2; Tyler Fengenstrom, CMR def. Lucas Hamilton, HAV, 6-1, 6-2; Josh Tierny, CMR def. Scott Miller, HAV, 6-1, 6-0.
Marc Mariani/Gary Wagner, HAV def. Adam Anderson/David Anderson, CMR, 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (7-5); Matt Murphy/Ryan Flaherty, CMR def. Coda Tchida/Billy Wagner, HAV, 6-4, 6-1; Nick Richards/Shawn Christopherson, CMR def. Chase Castloo/John Christian, HAV, 6-4, 7-5.
Havre 4, GFH 3
Spencer Gray, GFH def. Daine Solomon, HAV, 8-2; Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Brian Knutson, GFH, 8-0; David Currie, GFH def. Lucas Hamilton, HAV, 8-3; Scott Miller, HAV def. Eric Davey, GFH, 8-0.
Marc Mariani/Gary Wagner, HAV def. Dan Flaherty/Brian Mayernik, GFH, 8-1; Korey Alfred/Paul Chaon, GFH def. Coda Tchida/Billy Wagner, HAV, 8-5; Chase Castloo/John Christian, HAV def. T.J. Trost/Jake Daniels, GFH, 8-1.
Havre 4, CMR 3
Amy McLain, HAV def. Charlie Murphy, CMR, 6-3, 6-3; Quincy Carter, CMR def. Megan Rice, HAV, 6-1, 6-0; Karissa Olson, HAV def. Emily Horton, CMR, 7-6 (8-6), 0-6, 1-0 (7-1); Christen Kittleson, HAV def. Brittany Scheer, CMR 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7-4).
Steph Flatau/Keelie Solomon, HAV def. Jordan Skovro/Miriam Olignmueller, CMR, 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7-4); Lisa Mason/Katie Russell, CMR def. Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead, HAV, 6-4, 6-3; Nicole Scott/Sarah Palagie, CMR def. Jocelyn Chagnon/Molly Proctor, HAV,6-2, 6-2.
Havre 7, GFH 0
Amy McLain, HAV def. Nicole Dawson, GFH, 6-1, 6-1; Megan Rice, HAV def. Lindsey Godwin, GFH, 6-0, 6-1; Karissa Olson, HAV def. Jennifer Imhoff, GFH, 6-0, 6-0; Christen Kittelson, HAV def. Katie Semmons, GFH, 6-3, 6-2.
Steph Flatau/Keelie Solomon, HAV def. Smith/Transon, GFH, 6-1, 6-1; Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead , HAV def. Howard/Currie, GFH, 6-1, 6-1; Jocelyn Chagnon/Molly Proctor, HAV def. Triplett/Palagi, GFH, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.