Curtis upends South Kitsap in Wolves’ first home match

South Kitsap’s girls tennis squad could not get things going March 21 as they fell to the Curtis Vikings 4-1.

Clear skies, warm temperatures and a cool breeze greeted the Wolves as they took the court for their first home match of 2023. It was a comforting sight for head coach Mark Myers, but that did not take away his concerns about his smaller team competing against the likes of Curtis, who tied for fifth with Puyallup in last year’s state tournament.

“Some of these teams are stacked,” he said. “They’ve got kids that were brought up in tennis, so I guess from an absolute competitive standpoint, that’s concerning.”

Nevertheless, Myers expressed major confidence in his returning players. Junior Hailey Deese and senior Katherine Kent, who took the court as South Kitsap’s two singles players for the day, were mentioned as leaders to the several younger players joining this year. Juniors Faith White and Lauren Dickerson, who teamed up for one of three doubles matches, were also regarded as such by the veteran coach.

“They lead in the classroom; they lead in the school; they lead on their athletic teams,” he said. “We don’t have cliques, we don’t have any attitudes. It’s easy to coach.”

On the court, Deese got off to a strong start with a 6-2 first-set win. A similar level of early success came from the doubles courts as sophomore Sidney Huff and junior Ellie Duran took victory in a hard-fought tiebreaker set 7-6. However, Duran and Huff would lose their ground, quickly dropping the last two sets 1-6 and 2-6.

While remaining competitive, Deese would also lose her match and, at times, her cool. Visibly frustrated with her level of play, she committed several unforced errors that led to her dropping sets two and three 3-6 and 4-6.

Dickerson and White also kept things close on their doubles court, but ultimately fell in two sets 4-6 and 1-6. South Kitsap’s third doubles match was also lost in two sets by scores of 0-6 and 1-6.

South Kitsap’s sole victory came via the second singles match as Kent cruised to a 2-0 victory (6-4, 6-2).

Despite the final results, Myers said he was proud of his girls for the way they competed. Considering it was the first home match of the season, he said there would be more to come from his squad as the team became more comfortable in live scenarios.

“It’s always exciting to see them compete for the first time and then get their first match jitters out of the way and get a feel for how the whole process works. I’ve been impressed so far,” he said.