POULSBO — The Kingston High School boys tennis team showed its perseverance in its inaugural match of the season against the high-powered Peninsula Seahawks Friday afternoon at the North Kitsap High School tennis courts. When it was all said and done, the Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 4-3 for its first victory of the season.
With only two matches remaining in the contest, KHS trailed Peninsula 3-2. The No. 4 doubles team of Sam Shoemaker and Nick Andersen as well as the No. 1 doubles team of Mitch Icard and Jon Sudduth had already wrapped up 2-0 victories in straight sets for the Buccaneers.
The pressure was on the No. 2 doubles team of Ben Vankleek and Chris Hall and the No. 3 doubles team of Cole Johnstone and Jake Icard. Both teams would have to emerge from its matches victorious in order to give the team a W.
Vankleek and Hall defeated their opponents 2-1 (3-6, 7-5, 6-3). Johnstone and Icard won their match in straight sets 2-0 (7-5, 7-5).
“If you win it’s 100 percent, if you lose it’s like having 0 percent,” Johnstone said. “Getting a win like this gets us off to a good start.”
Hall said it felt good to come up with a win against a team of Peninsula’s caliber.
“This feels really good. I had no idea how strong they would be coming into today. I was looking at their shirts when they got here and it said league champs,” he said. “We don’t even have a full varsity squad and we still won. After warmups, I was pretty sure we would win it today.”
Hall said, even so, the entire team still has plenty of room for improvement.
“We definitely didn’t bring our ‘A’ game,” he said. “We’ll keep pushing each other.”
Buccaneers coach Ken Crawford was relieved after the final match of the day.
“I was getting a little nervous towards the end there,” he said. “We pulled it out. I’m very proud of the guys. Our No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams pushed us over the top.”
Crawford said his mind was racing with incredible joy following the victory.
“I was thinking, this is so great to win our first match like this. I hope this win can carry over to the rest of the season,” he said.
Mitch Icard, who is a member of the No. 1 doubles team, believes the Buccaneers tennis program will continue to show everyone what they’re made of this season.
“You can expect to see that all year long,” he said of the Bucs performance.
Bucs No. 1 singles player Jerol Bird had the dubious honor of facing off against one of the top players in Washington in the form of Peninsula’s Lance Wilhelm. Wilhelm defeated Bird 2-0 (6-0, 6-0).
“That kid is amazing,” Crawford said of Wilhelm. “He plays like a college player. This guy is so beyond what most high school players are like.”
“He’s really good and knows what he’s doing,” he said.
The Buccaneers boys tennis team hosts Sequim High School at 4 p.m. today at the North Kitsap High School tennis courts in Poulsbo.