Canby boy's tennis finds silver lining in seasons end
Considering the league in which the Canby boy's tennis team finds itself and the resources that Canby has to work with, the season was considered a moderate success. Factor in Lakeridge, Lake Oswego, and West Linn are all in Canby's league and all have a substantially stronger tennis playing population, and the year looks positively rosy in hindsight.
Canby tennis coach Luke Schroeter, a Lakeridge alumni, knew that the season was going to be tough heading in. Canby's kids are playing different sports in different seasons, while the majority of its opponents have dedicated, year-round tennis players.
Still, in the Three Rivers League district championships, the team picked up a pair of singles wins. Going in, Schroeter had the goal of winning a single singles match. Both wins happened in the consolation bracket, but still, take the small victories. Senior Spencer Doman picked up a win over Newberg senior Zach Blizard, and junior Jared Masek beat Tualatin's Kaden Easton.
"It would have been nice to win a match in the first round but they competed and showed heart, playing hard even when the cards were stacked up against us," Schroeter said. "At the same time, we didn't win one match last year at districts and this year we won two. It's an improvement. And it exceeded my goal which was just to win 1 match at districts."
Exiting the 2018 season, Schroeter has heard from a number of his athletes that they intend to play a fair amount of summer tennis. Getting the team to buy into the sport outside of the regular season is one step towards improving the results of the district meet.
Another good thing that happened was everyone, coaches included, had a good time being a part of the team.
"We consistently had fun whether it be at practice or at matches," Schroeter said. "This was a fun group that I enjoyed coaching and look forward to coaching next year. We doubled our win total from last year and competed against a lot of teams I didn't think we would be able to compete against. I think for the most part the kids started to get invested in the game."
Technically, the team improved as the season went on. The boys began using proper grips, and utilizing the net more and more, and by the time they went to districts, it seemed to be a positive aspect of the game.
Individually, Schroeter noted two players that had improved significantly.
"As far as most improved I would give that to Ian Quinlan and Grant Glendenning who as sophomores just really started playing the game this year," Schroeter said. "Grant who started the year on JV, won four varsity matches in a row and a team high five for the season. Ian who had barely picked up a racquet before our first practice in late February ended up being one of our most versatile and reliable players."
Schroeter enjoyed seeing his team improve, and his biggest memories are wrapped up in that same vein.
"The best memory of the season was watching the kids improve and start to make a connection with the game," Schroeter said. "Seeing players like Spencer (Doman) and Mika (Morehard) consistently stay after practice trying to get better, working on their game, and in the process improving a ton was great."