With two-thirds of its roster still green to competitive tennis, the Del Norte High boys tennis team makes progress in small steps.
That was not enough Tuesday, when Eureka High defeated the Warriors, 7-2, in a team match at Del Norte High School. Going forward, however, there were lessons learned.
"I saw some improvement," Del Norte head coach Sara Sampels said. "I saw quicker feet today."
The Warriors' (2-7 overall) lone victory in a contested match came courtesy of their newest rostered player, junior Strand Hill, who had become eligible for competition last week.
Hill arrived almost an hour late to the Del Norte High tennis courts, with a forfeiture all but officially written in the record book. Matched up against Eureka's Bryce Hutchins, Hill survived a pro set that eventually went into a tiebreaker scenario, 9-8 (5).
"He'd win two games, I'd win two games," Hill said. "I either want to be viciously demolishing or (losing badly). I hate really, really close games. It's exhausting."
Max Bass, the Loggers' No. 1 singles player, defeated Del Norte's Blair Westbrook, 6-1, 6-1. Westbrook's brother Alec also lost his match at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1, to Eureka's Josh Hancock.
"I saw Blair going for corner shots (for potential winners)," Sampels said. "I saw Alec working on his serves."
Del Norte's Cameron Douglas pushed the Loggers' Jules Pioquid in the No. 4 singles match in the first set but struggled in the second set, eventually falling 6-3, 6-1.
In the No. 3 singles match, Doug Ovick of the Warriors lost to Andy Kine of Eureka, 6-1, 6-1. The Loggers' Calder Hutchins topped Del Norte's Daniel Quick, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 5 singles.
Bass and Hancock took down the Westbrook brothers in the No. 1 doubles match, 8-2. Ovick and Quick played a highly competitive No. 2 doubles match against Kime and Pioquid but ultimately lost, 8-6.
Eureka forfeited the No. 3 doubles match due to travel considerations.
Del Norte travels to McKinleyville for a Thursday match against the Panthers; the Warriors' last scheduled match is at Fortuna High on April 9.
On April 13, Del Norte will host the Humboldt-Del Norte League Boys Tennis singles championships, where the Warriors will compete for berths at the North Coast Section championships.
"Hopefully, next Saturday, we have a good showing," Sampels said.
Reach Robert Husseman at firstname.lastname@example.org.