By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
Despite some tough competition and missing some key players, the Havre High tennis teams had a solid weekend at the Great Falls Invitational team tournament.
The Havre boys finished with a 3-1 record in four dual matches. Their only loss came to top-ranked CMR to open Friday's action.
It was the second defeat for the Ponies at the hands of the Rustlers in a little over a week. Like the previous dual, Havre fell to CMR by the score of 4-3, with all three winners from the previous dual winning again.
Havre's No. 1 singles player Daine Solomon crushed CMR's Alex Baaden. No. 2 player Kyle Baltrusch also continued to play well, dropping Josh Tierney 8-3. Havre's other win came from the No. 1 doubles team of Marc Mariani and Gary Wagner, who defeated Josh Horton and Adam Anderson 8-5 in a tough match.
"The dual with CMR was disappointing for our team," said head coach George Ferguson. "They changed their entire lineup for Friday's dual because we nearly knocked them off on Tuesday. Once again Daine and Kyle and Marc and Gary played really well, but they adjusted their doubles teams and our depth became a factor once again, and we came up short.
"CMR is undefeated this season, and we have come closer than anyone else to beating them in a dual. The kids were pretty disappointed, because we won't get another shot at them this season."
Havre rebounded from the disappointing loss to defeat a solid Bozeman team 6-1 on Friday night. The Ponies won all but one match in a dominant performance. Havre could have very well run the table against Bozeman, but No. 4 player Scott Miller lost a heartbreaker to Bozeman's Andy Gavin.
"This tournament was really a tale of two different days for our boys team," Ferguson said. "We went 1-1 against two really solid teams on Friday. On Saturday we went 2-0 against two of the weaker teams in Class AA."
Indeed, Havre defeated Butte 5-2 and crushed Billings Skyview 7-0 in Saturday's duals.
Against Butte, Havre swept the doubles as Wagner and Mariani, Coda Tchida and Billy Wagner, and Chase Castloo and John Christian all won their respective matches in dominant fashion, losing a total of three games in three matches.
Solomon and Baltrusch also cruised to wins in singles for Havre.
Against Skyview, Ferguson switched up the lineup because Skyview was missing several key players. Gary Wagner played No. 1 singles for Havre and cruised to an 8-0 win. Lucas Hamilton and Scott Miller also added impressive wins.
Billy Wagner and Tchida and Christian and Jordan Croft won their doubles matches with ease as both teams continued to improve.
"I thought the kids played well for the most part," Ferguson said. "Our top four players dominated their competition throughout the four duals. Daine and Kyle both went undefeated in singles and they both played really well in every match. Marc and Gary were also on top of their game this weekend. The last two weeks have shown that those four guys can play with anybody in the state right now."
The performances of the other players also pleased Ferguson.
"Our younger kids like Billy Wagner and Coda Tchida looked better, even though they lost some tough matches," Ferguson said. "And Chase Castloo played some really good tennis this weekend. We moved him around a little, and he played well in both singles and doubles. Hopefully, those are some good indications that we are getting stronger in the bottom part of our lineup."
Things were a little tougher on the girls' side as the lineup was missing two of its top players in Steph Flatau and Karissa Olson. The remaining Pony players worked hard to finish 1-3 with their only team win coming against Butte on Saturday.
The Pony girls opened play on Friday against a tough CMR squad they had defeated earlier in the week. But without Flatau and Olson, Havre fell 5-2. The Ponies got wins from singles players Amy McLain and Katy Dow. McLain, Havre's No. 1 player, dropped Charlie Murphy 8-0, while Dow picked up a nice win at No. 4, winning 8-5.
Things didn't get any easier later in the day against a very good Bozeman team. Havre fell 6-1. McLain won the only match, defeating Katie Colton 8-2.
Havre bounced back on Saturday to defeat Butte 6-1 to pick up its only win. The Ponies swept the singles with McLain, Megan Rice, Keelie Solomon and Dow all scoring wins. The Ponies' normal No. 2 doubles team of Kari Gorder and Kristi Hollingshead was forced to move up to No. 1 on the weekend but scored an 8-5 win. The duo of Jocelyn Chagnon and Molly Proctor also won its match at No. 2.
In the final dual of the tournament, Havre fell to Billings Skyview 4-3 in a very close match.
McLain finished the weekend undefeated with an 8-3 win over Rikki Peach. Her singles cohorts also picked up two more wins. Rice defeated Emily Walker and Solomon beat Meghann Walker. Christen Kittelson almost had a chance to put the Ponies on top, but lost a heartbreaker 8-6 to Shaina Robbins.
"Amy McLain played superb tennis this weekend," Ferguson said. "She really wasn't pushed by any of her four opponents, and these are the best of the best in Class AA tennis. Her match against Bozeman on Friday night was supposed to be a big test because her opponent was part of the defending Class AA champion team, and Amy was just dominant from start to finish. In two weeks, she has played most of the top players in Class AA tennis, and her game has soared to new heights because of it."
Even without winning the duals or even some of the matches, Ferguson was still pretty happy with how his team played.
"This was a difficult weekend for our girls team," he said. "We were without some key players and that put some of our kids in a tough position. Some kids had to move up a notch in each dual, and they definitely took some lumps. But the competition we faced was good for all of those girls. The scores in a lot of those matches don't really show how hard some of our kids played."
Havre will be in Lewistown on Saturday for the Fergus Invitational.
CMR 4, Havre 3
Daine Solomon, HAV def. Alex Baaden, CMR, 8-0; Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Josh Tierney, CMR, 8-3; Tyler Fengenstrom, CMR def. Lucas Hamilton, HAV, 8-1; Austin Erwin, CMR def. Scott Miller, HAV, 8-2.
Marc Mariani-Gary Wagner, HAV def. Josh Horton-Adam Anderson, CMR, 8-5; David Anderson-Nick Richards, CMR def. Coda Tchida-Billy Wagner, HAV, 8-1; Matt Murphy-Ryan Flaherty, CMR def. Chase Castloo-John Christian, HAV, 8-0.
Havre 6, Bozeman 1
Daine Solomon, HAV def. Steve Jackson, BOZ, 8-3; Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Adam Shapiro, BOZ, 8-4; Lucas Hamilton, HAV def. Mike Kotar, BOZ, 8-2; Andy Gavin, BOZ, def. Scott Miller, HAV, 8-6.
Marc Mariani-Gary Wagner, HAV def. Ben Tengelsen-Brett Jackson, BOZ, 8-0; Coda Tchida-Billy Wagner, HAV def. Philip Fisher-Ross Carlson, BOZ, 8-1; Chase Castloo-John Christian, HAV, def. David Gordon-David Stroup, BOZ, 8-2.
Havre 5, Butte 2
Daine Solomon, HAV, def. Brady Bentley 8-2; Kyle Baltrusch, HAV, def. Calvin Lee 8-1; Nicholas Huang, Butte, def. Chase Castloo 8-5; Andy Davis, Butte, def. Scott Miller 8-1.
Gary Wagner-Marc Mariani, HAV, def. Dean Bentley-Bryan McNabb 8-1; Coda Tchida-Billy Wagner, HAV, def. Cody Peoples-Brandon Warner 8-5; Jordan Croft-John Christian, HAV, def. Brett Bond-Marc Cutler 8-1.
Havre 7, Billings Skyview 0
Gary Wagner, HAV, def. Kenny Sheehan 8-0; Marc Mariani, HAV, won by forfeit; Chase Castloo, HAV, def. Colby McKamey (sub), 8-1; Scott Miller, HAV, def. Josh Manchester (sub) 8-1.
Daine Solomon-Kyle Baltrusch, HAV, won by forfeit; Coda Tchida-Billy Wagner, HAV, def. Tanner Bennion-Mike Kratochvil 8-1; John Christian-Jordan Croft, HAV, def. Matt Pollock-Chris Lyon 8-2.
CMR 5, Havre 2
Amy McLain, HAV def. Charlie Murphy, CMR, 8-0; Quincy Carter, CMR def. Megan Rice, HAV, 8-5; Emily Horton, CMR def. Christen Kittelson, HAV, 8-1; Katy Dow, HAV def. Jennifer Jacobsen, CMR, 8-5.
Oligmueller-Jennifer Skovro, CMR def. Kari Gorder-Kristi Hollingshead, HAV, 8-2; Katie russell-Lisa Mason, CMR def. Jocelyn Chagnon-Molly Proctor, HAV, 8-4; Sara Palagi-Nicole Scott, CMR def. Angie Maxwell-Samantha Boucher, HAV, 8-2.
Bozeman 6, Havre 1
Amy McLain, HAV def. Katie Colton, BOZ, 8-2; Aubrie Ler, BOZ, def. Megan Rice, HAV, 8-0; Sara Urband, BOZ, def. Christen Kittelson, HAV, 8-0; Rachel White, BOZ, def. Katy Dow, HAV, 8-3.
Mackenzie Wallace-Mary Ann Hanson, BOZ, def. Kari Gorder-Kristi Hollingshead, HAV, 8-0; Lindsay Booth-Britta Lee, BOZ, def. Jocelyn Chagnon-Molly proctor, HAV, 8-3; Megan Bittinger-Callie Demay, BOZ, def. Angie Maxwell-Samantha Boucher, HAV, 8-1.
Havre 6, Butte 1
Amy McLain, HAV, def. Whitney Walsh 8-1; Megan Rice, HAV, def. Zoe Duryea 8-0; Keelie Solomon, HAV, def. Mandi Hill 8-2; Christen Kittelson, HAV, def. Janna Smith 8-4.
Kari Gorder-Kristi Hollingshead, HAV, def. Kelsey Manchester-Ashley Rognstad 8-5; Jocelyn Chagnon-Molly Proctor, HAV, def. Emily Pfiefer-Nicole Kelly 8-2; Johnna Beatty-Jessi Manchester, BUT, def. Katy Dow-Angie Maxwell 8-1.
Billings Skyview 4, Havre 3
Amy McLain, HAV, def. Rikki Peach 8-1; Megan Rice, HAV, def. Emily Walker 8-4; Keelie Solomon, HAV, def. Meghann Walker 8-7 (7-3); Shaina Robbins, SKY, def. Christen Kittleson 8-6.
Kayla Beach-Jenny Dolan, SKY, def. Kari Gorder-Kristi Hollingshead 8-1; Gina DiTommaso-Jeri Lynn Williamson, SKY, def. Jocelyn Chagnon-Molly Proctor 8-3; Kallie Charlton-Cassie Peterson, SKY, def. Katy Dow-Angie Maxwell 8-2.