The Carson High boys tennis team doubled up for a key win over Douglas on Thursday at Centennial Park. Carson's doubles teams also received just enough help from their friends in singles.
Carson beat Douglas 11-7 in an evenly-matched contest that determined the Sierra League's No. 3 and No. 4 seeds heading into next week's Northern 4A playoffs, which begin on Tuesday. Douglas will have to travel to Northern 4A power Galena while the Senators will travel to face the High Desert League's No. 2 seed. The Senators also earned five points in the Sierra Nevada Cup presented by Les Schwab.
If Carson can win its first round playoff match on Tuesday, it would likely receive a rematch at Reno High in the semifinals on Thursday. Last week the Senators gave Reno all it could handle in a 12-6 loss.
But while it may have been tempting for Carson coach Pat Houlihan to look ahead at that possible matchup last week, he's not doing it now. "I think one match at a time," he said. "That's a bad omen for coaches to think that."
Carson won eight of nine doubles matches to off set the strength in singles that Douglas had with Gabe Grobin and Robert Shawhan sweeping all six of their matches. But Carson won the other three singles matches.
"My doubles stepped up and my singles stepped up," Houlihan said. "It was a good team effort. I'm happy for them."
The Senators won two close doubles matches in the first two rounds that enabled them to take an 8-4 lead, giving them a little breathing room. Nick Smallman and Chris Wear beat the Tigers' Matt McLaughlin and Treaver Mitchell 6-4 and Adam Houghton and Nathaniel Hamer defeated Niles Crow and Holden Sapp 6-4.
Josh Caron and Bryt Lewis and Smallman and Wear swept in doubles for Carson. Caron and Lewis won 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 and Wear and Smallman won their other matches 6-2, 6-0. Houghton and Hamer also won 6-3. Josh Vega and Spike Neri won 6-3 for Douglas.
In singles, Spencer Brinson won 6-1, Evan Thayer won 6-3 and Ryan Dwyer won 6-0. Groben posted a string of pearls, winning 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 and Shawhan won 6-0, 6-2, 6-1.
"They're very strong and I knew that," Houlihan said. "I call them tournament players. It's hard to beat tournament players.
"I enjoy watching the people just play a good game of tennis, but I was really proud of the team's effort."
In other singles matches for Carson, Kyle Campbell and Scott Huynh both won 6-3.
CARSON GIRLS 10, DOUGLAS 8
Carson coach Diane Baker Roberts, ironically a math teacher, almost made a costly mathematical mistake for the Senators, who still won the battle for the Sierra League's No. 4 and final spot into the Northern 4A playoffs on Thursday in Gardnerville.
Carson now must travel to Galena for a first round playoff match on Tuesday. The Senators also won five points in the Sierra Nevada Cup presented by Les Schwab.
Roberts thought that her team had already clinched the match with 10 points when she substituted for Lisa Midboe in singles. But Carson was actually up only 9-5 and almost ended up losing the last four matches. If the match had ended up tied 9-9, the Senators still would have likely won on the basis of winning more total games. "I'm resigning as math teacher because I couldn't count to 10," Roberts joked.
With the match still in the balance, it looked like that Paige Miller and Kacey Moseley would give Carson the needed 10th point when they led 4-1 in doubles, but they ended up losing 4-6.
It looked like the match was going to end up tied 9-9 when Kristi Philippi and Hilary Schlager trailed 1-4. But they came back to win 6-4 to give Carson its 10th point. "They pulled through," said Roberts about her team.
Shanni Eng gave Carson an outstanding effort in singles, coming back to win her first match 7-5 after trailing 0-3. "Shanni Eng played her heart out," Roberts said. Eng ended up sweeping as she won her other matches 6-0, 6-1.
Midboe won both of her matches, winning 6-4, 6-3. In doubles, Philippi and Schlager also won 6-4, Amanda Gohr and Kristen Charles won 6-3 and lost a heartbreaking tiebreaker 6-7 (7-9) and Meagan Carter and Emily Wang won 6-3. Elizabeth Gohr also won in singles 6-1.