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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Photo courtesy of Janice Opp

DCHS boys' tennis team takes second at state

By Anthony Varriano

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The Dawson County High School tennis teams performed admirably at the Class A State Tournament in Livingston and Bozeman over the weekend. The teams had to play around rain on Saturday, as showers fell around noon, forcing the tournament back indoors at the Montana State University facility.

The Dawson boys’ finished just five points behind the champions from Billings Central and were in a position to win the whole thing, DCHS head coach Rich Lindgren explained.

“A win in the championship would take three points from BC and give us three more, and we would have won by one,” he said.

It was Jory Opp and Josh Hoffer that had a chance to finish atop the boys’ doubles division, beating their teammates Jarod Asche and Bret Vester in a very competitive match, 7-6(2), 5-7, 7-5 in the semifinal. They followed it up with another marathon in the championship, falling to Rams Simon Marshall and Joey Nichols, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3. The DCHS duo scored 14 points for their team.

Asche and Vester dropped just one game to Brenden Bulls and Austin Reese of Whitefish. Then they defeated Kyson Wilson and Todd Nordahl of Dillon in straight sets before running into Opp and Hoffer. They recovered to beat Quaid Harlan and Colin Kenney of Polson in straight sets, and handled Darnell Left Hand and Michael Nesser of Hardin in the consolation match for third place and 11 team points.

Matthis Rivard lost to Bradley Rakich of Dillon, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, in round one, but recovered to defeat Nathan Fauth of Whitefish in straight sets. He picked up more points for his team with a win over Jan Mann of Belgrade, 6-3, 6-4, but lost to Colton Belcourt of Stevensville 6-4, 7-5.

Michael Hopfauf scored one point for Dawson with a split-set win over Dustin Haas of Havre, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Last year’s runners-up in girls’ doubles, Ceeara Staiger and Marenah Crockett, needed a third set to decide their opening round match against Polson’s Olivia Hewston and Kyler Lundeen, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. They then rolled in straight sets over Beaverhead County’s Tessa Sawyer and Adrianne Southam, 6-4, 6-3.

After being down to match point, Staiger and Crockett dug deep to beat Cassie Carlye and Shawna Lenz of Polson in probably the best match of the tournament. They won the consolation match over Tessa Sawyer and Adrianne Southam of Dillon in straight sets to finish third and score their team 11 points.

Alyssa Kessel scored three team points with a straight-set win over Eliza Boyd of Livingston and another straight-set win over Brittney Schaaf of Hardin. She was sixth overall, and the Lady Devils were fifth. Whitefish blew away the competition, winning by 11 points over Billings Central.

“The girls end the season with a dual record of 24-3-1, finishing second at Divisionals and fifth at state — one match away from third,” Lindgren said. “The boys’ team ends the season with a dual record of 17-8-2, finishing second at divisionals and second at state — one set from first.”

With Asche, Vester, Hoffer, Crockett and Kessel all graduating, the DCHS tennis team loses some of the most consistently competitive players its had the past four years. But Staiger and Opp should return to lead the teams next season, and Lindgren never seems to lack players to plug into roles.  


Reach Anthony Varriano at rrsports@rangerreview.com.

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