Park, Anand power Eastlake tennis sweep of Roosevelt
October 1, 2013
By Neil Pierson
The Eastlake High School boys tennis team is making a lot of good things happen this season, and maybe the most encouraging sign is the Wolves are doing it without a lot of seniors.
“I have all four singles players coming back next year, so they’ll be that much more experienced,” Eastlake coach Bud Peterson said on Sept. 26 during the Wolves’ 7-0 sweep of the visiting Roosevelt Roughriders.
The Wolves’ top player, in fact, will have three remaining years of eligibility. Freshman Anderson Park, who defeated Roosevelt’s Jack Kussick 6-0, 6-1, has shown he’s capable of hanging with most opponents in the Class 4A KingCo Conference.
Peterson said Park’s father is a professional tennis instructor, and his children having been around the game for many years. Anderson’s sister, Katie, is the top singles player for Eastlake’s girls team.
The coach said it’s no longer unusual to see a freshman hold his own in the varsity lineup.
“When I was growing up, it was a sport every season, and you didn’t really focus,” Peterson said. “You just went from one to the next.
“Today, you’re doing it year-round, and you get young players who are very good, but the downside to that is you hope they can maintain an interest through four years.”
Park has had a positive influence on his teammates, indicated junior Aashray Anand, the Wolves’ No. 2 singles player.
“It’s really good to play with him, because his game actually plays well into mine,” Anand said. “It helps me improve my decision-making, because that’s one of his strengths, that he places the ball really well.”
Anand had little trouble winning his match with Roosevelt’s Ben Sahlin, cruising to a 6-0, 6-0 win. Anand said he felt good about his performance, which included sticking to his strengths of powerful strokes and movement around the court.
“I think I need to work a lot on the strategic side of my game,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll go into a match and I won’t really think about what I’m doing. I’ll just kind of hit the ball all over the place.
“So I need to work on that, and then work on playing calmer. Even if I go down in the match, try to come back after that. Because when I go down, I don’t do very well, and my game drops after that.”
Eastlake’s other singles players also earned 6-0, 6-0 decisions. Thiago Bandeira handled Johnny Foster, and Anand Nambakam knocked off Andrew Angelos.
Nambakam was filling in for junior Kenny Koehler, who has a stress fracture in his back, Peterson said.
“He’s out indefinitely, and that may mean the rest of the season,” the coach said of Koehler.
The Wolves’ doubles teams recorded three victories. Tim Tan and Kyle Loofburrow didn’t drop a game in ousting Peter Hou and Will Hutchison.
At No. 2 doubles, Eastlake’s Jeff Gross and Jerry Shen beat Tyler Chinn and Max Trieger (6-1, 6-0), while the No. 3 duo of Ryan Holmdahl and Chris Lockwood downed Sebastian Kent and Will Golding (6-2, 6-3).
Eastlake is hoping to improve enough over the course of the season that it can challenge most opponents. Anand said there was a lot to learn from a 7-0 loss to two-time defending state champion Newport on Sept. 17.
“They’ve had people graduate, and then more people come in that were just as good as the ones before,” Anand said.
“Newport is the strongest team I’ve seen in easily a decade, if not longer,” Peterson added. “Those kids are playing at private clubs from day one – all of them. I’ve got several kids playing at private clubs, but not 12 players. But we’re still competitive, and we’re having a good time.”