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Beautiful weather greets Ronan netters in Bitterroot

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It was a delayed opener for the Ronan tennis team, but last Saturday's trip to Stevensville couldn't have been better timed. The weather was absolutely spring-like, with a sunny sky and temperatures in the 60s.

"Finally, after four weeks of practice we got to play," Ronan head coach Gordon Cummings said. "It was a beautiful day in Stevi."

Ronan's girls won three matches in a 4-3 dual loss to Stevi, but battled in their losses. 

Amber Metzger earned a 6-4, 6-4 win in the number one singles match. Seri Smith and Brianna Frank won 6-2, 6-0 at number two doubles, while Camilla Huuse and Angela Mousisyan won a tight 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) decision in the number three doubles match.

"There were a lot of nerves for the first-time players," Cummings noted. "Amber (Metzger) played a good consistent match as her opponent didn't make many mistakes."

The coach said it was Sarah Anderson's first varsity match but did well in a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) loss at number two singles.

"Sarah wasn't sure what to expect, but got the jitters out after the first set and played very well," Cummings said. "Seri and Brianna played very well and were consistent and worked together to win at number two doubles. Camilla and Angela, two of our exchange students, were nervous but held on to win a long three-setter. It was great to see their enthusiasm out on the court."

Cummings noted that the players who lost matches were in close matches. 

"They played well for their first match against Stevi, which was playing its third match of the season," the coach said.

The Ronan boys dropped a 5-2 dual to the Yellowjackets, with a win in singles and in doubles.

Jess Smith won a spirited 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 match at number four singles, while Kyle Yankey and Chase Allen cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 win at number three doubles.

"As the season goes on, Jess (Smith) will get more consistent," coach Cummings said with confidence. "Kyle and Chase played a strong match. It's their second year and they seem to work really well together."

This year's tennis team is once again young, but there are lots of athletes out competing for spots on the squad. 

"Our girls are young and enthusiastic. Amber Metzger, Darian Leo and Katelyn Matkovich are all returning sophomores with a great future," Cummings said. "Seri Smith, Taylor Courville and Brianna Frank are sophomores, as well, that will be moved around between singles and doubles to see where they fit the best."

He explained that Metzger has a never-say-die attitude and runs down a lot of balls that frustrates opponents. 

"Darian Leo and Katelyn Matkovich love doubles and work well together and Sarah Anderson is a freshman that shows a lot of potential," Cummings said. 

Ronan's boys' squad has three seniors and some hard-working underclassmen, according to Cummings. 

"Austin Butler is a senior and a good singles and doubles player," the coach said. "Colten Cheff and Jeff Leo are seniors and hard-workers. They've been doubles partners for the last three years. Look to see them have a great senior year."

Hunter Shima is a strong, hard-working lefthander with great court awareness.

"He is only a sophomore, but he should mature a lot this season," Cummings noted. 

"Aaron Yazzie, Kyle Yankey, Chase Allen, Spencer Sucha and Jess smith are all second-year players," the coach said. "I'm waiting to see how they handle themselves on the court against more experience."

Ronan is moving from the Southwestern A to Northwestern A this year. 

"We haven't played everyone in the past, so this will be a new experience ... The Northwestern A is a really strong conference," Cummings said. "(But I look forward to) watching so many young players develop on both the girls' and boys' side."

The Ronan team next plays this Saturday back down in the Bitterroot, taking on Corvallis at 11 a.m. and Hamilton at 3 p.m. Ronan will host its first conference match at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, when Polson comes to town. 


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