Jon Pelcher found a perfect way Thursday to celebrate his 16th birthday and his first time in the Douglas High boys tennis team’s No. 1 singles position.
Pelcher won all three of his matches without dropping a single game for Douglas during its season opening match at home against Churchill County. The Greenwave from Fallon, however, rode their doubles strength to a 10-8 victory in a match that came down to the wire.
For Douglas, playing the match was a victory in itself after being forced to practice indoors for two weeks due to air quality issues.
“Isn’t this beautiful?” Douglas coach Rod Smith said, pointing to the blue sky overhead. “This is the first time in two weeks we’ve been out on these courts. Being in the gym is not the same as playing under game conditions. It’s a whole different ballgame.”
Pelcher and Connor Lyons combined to score six of the Tigers’ eight points from the No. 1 and 2 singles spots. Pelcher’s performance came as a big plus since he only saw limited time in the team’s lineup last year.
“He has kind of worked his way into the lineup,” Smith said of the junior. “He’s so competitive. He doesn’t give up on anything. He makes the opponent work for everything.”
A lot of work over the summer paid off for Pelcher, who saw limited playing time for Douglas last year.
“I played a lot at Lampe Park over the summer with my brother, Zac, and Cody Tindal … that helped a lot,” Pelcher said.
“It was nice to finally get outside today,” he added. “It was hard to get into a rhythm out here; I just did what I could.”
Sophomore Sam Nanse rallied from a 6-5 deficit and won the tie breaker 7-2 in his first-round match. The No. 1 doubles team of Joey Swisher-Keaton Peters also won once to account for the Tigers’ other points.
“I thought we played better as the day went on,” Smith said. “It took a while to shake off the cobwebs.”
Churchill County was led by sweeps from its doubles teams of Ty Wood-Martin Beyer and Garrett Kalt-Adam Wadsworth, who dropped only six games between them. Wood and Beyer, both juniors, were I-A state tournament qualifiers in 2012.
The difference for the Greenwave, however, came at the end of the second round when Inglis rallied for a 7-5 win over Nanse. Inglis won his final three games after trailing 5-4.
One highlight for Douglas, Smith noted 15 of his 17 team members saw time on the court in either regular matches or exhibitions.
Douglas used 11 players on its way to an 18-0 season-opening victory against Churchill County on a blustery Thursday afternoon in Fallon.
Freshmen Madelyn Landerfeldt and Maggie Rich were both unbeaten in their debut performances as the team’s No. 1 and No. 3 singles players. The all-sophomore doubles team of Kayleigh Carlson-Tara Cotrill won their final match on a tie-breaker, 7-6 (7-3). The Tigers dropped 26 games as a team.