Mission tennis heats up courts with hard work
ST. IGNATIUS – With postseason right around the corner, Mission is working out the kinks preparing to make a splash on the Divisional tennis scene.
Veteran Coach Kimimi Ashley believes her kids have a good shot and is excited to watch them take their game all the way to State. With a strong doubles team and a couple of standouts, Mission just may be on track to see some hardware at the end of the day.
“It’s going good,” Ashley said. “We’re getting close to State.”
Eyeing up State most of all is doubles team Jamie Mullins and Steven Bravo, both seniors. Though both Mullins and Bravo are seasoned tennis players, this is the first year they have played doubles, which can be a tough transition for some, but not for these two.
“We’re looking forward to see what they can do,” Ashley said.
The team’s hard work showed last week as they won three out of four matches taking just a single loss. According to Ashley, the loss is only their second through the whole season as a team.
Also on the postseason radar are Mission’s number one and number two boys singles, Andrew Esslinger and Nate Doll, both preparing for a Divisonals run, holding their own throughout the season.
Esslinger was 2-3 at the Loyola-Sacred Heart tournament winning both sets with ease as he took down his opponents 6-1, 6-2 and 6-2, 6-2 respectfully.
Bulldogs Dominik Stallings also won two of his three matches in Missoula.
For the girls, it has been a tough season. While only starting out with three girls total, an injury forced the Lady Bulldogs down to two.
Though Lady Bulldog Daisie VandenBos may bring some experience, Lindsay Johnson is playing her first year on the courts as a senior and according to Ashley, both girls are showing promise.
“Lindsay’s doing really good considering this is her first year,” Ashley said. “Daisie’s right in the middle there so it could go either way, but she’s a strong hitter. So if she’s just a little more offensive at Divisionals, she could be making it to State as well.”
VandenBos posted a pair of wins last week; a 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 battle against Valley Christian’s Libby Lichte and went 1-2 at the Loyola tourney. Johnson had one win and two losses at the Missoula tournament.
Ashley has used back-to-basics teaching tools to welcome in Mission’s first time players and to help more seasoned players keep on track. The hard work is paying off.
“Year to year you work on the basics to start right at the beginning for everybody,” she said. “It’s the same thing we work on every year – teaching the high percentage basics.”
Before venturing off into postseason, Mission will host the Best of the West Tournament in Polson Saturday. Hosting seven state bound teams will give the Bulldogs a good idea of what to look forward to and a little extra bump in State preparations.
Divisionals will be in Bigfork on Friday with State just around the bend, starting May 14 in Great Falls.
Mission 1, Loyola 5
Singles - Carson Christian (L) def. Andrew Esslinger 6-1, 6-0; Nate Doll (Msn) def. River Richardson (L) 6-3, 1-6, 10-8; Alex Nagata (L) def. Dominik Stallings 6-0, 6-1; Cole Cummins (L) def. Dana Goss 6-0, 6-1;
Doubles - M. Richardson/S. Sellman (L) def. S. Bravo/L. Yelsa 6-1, 6-0; H. Muth/I. Descamps (L) def. L. Yelsa/W. Castor (SI) 6-0, 6-0
Mission 4, Valley Christian 2
Singles - Andrew Esslinger (Msn) def. Andrew Hawkins 7-5, 6-2; Nate Doll (Msn) def. Aiden McCloy 6-1, 6-0; Christopher Beckett (VC) def. Dominik Stallings 6-1, 6-0; Andrew Lichte (VC) def. Dana Goss 6-0, 6-0
Doubles - J. Mullins/S. Bravo (Msn) def. P. Manuel/V. Brewer 6-3, 6-2; L. Yelsa/W. Castor (Msn) def. K. Banales/I. Kim 6-1, 6-2
Loyola – Sacred Heart Tournament
Andrew Esslinger (Msn) def. Liam Hennsley (Troy) 6-2, 6-2; Kalen Christiaens (LSH) def. Andrew Esslinger 6-1, 6-1; Andrew Esslinger (Msn) def. Ben Haggerty (Troy)6-1, 6-2; Andrew Hawkins (VC) def. Nate Doll 7-5, 3-6, 10-4; Nate Doll (Msn) def. Michael Bender (CB) 6-2, 6-2; Josh Biegler (CB) def. Nate Doll no score; Cole Cummins (Loy) def. Dominik Stallings 6-3, 6-4; Dominik Stallings (Msn) def. Spencer Coyle (CB) no score; Dominik Stallings (Msn) def. AJ Faur (Troy)6-2, 6-4; Jordan Castle (CB) def. Dana Goss 6-2, 6-3; Tanner Condit (LSH) def. Dana Goss 6-2, 6-3; Dana Goss (Msn) def. Kai Banales (VC)6-1, 1-6, 10-7
Doubles - Jamie Mullins/Steven Bravo (Msn) def. Berg/Larson (CN) 6-3, 6-3; Jamie Mullins/Steven Bravo (Msn) def. Harry Muth/Nagata (LSH) 1-6, 6-4, 10-6; Jordt/Martel (BF) def. Jamie Mullins/Steven Bravo 4-6, 6-3, 12-10; Wittmeier/Padilla (CN) def. Yelsa/Castor 6-3, 6-2; Dressen/Taylor (RN) def. Yelsa/Castor no score; Berg/Larson (CN) def. Yelsa/Castor no score
Mission 0, Loyola-Sacred Heart 2
Singles - Casey Cummins (LSH) def. Daisie VandenBos 6-0, 6-1; Maddie Kaleva (LSH) def. Lindsay Johnson 8-0
Mission 1, Valley Christian 1
Singles - Daisie VandenBos (Msn) def. Libby Lichte (VC) 7-5, 1-6, 6-4; Marge Henricken (VC) def. Lindsay Johnson 6-1, 6-2