Panthers tennis falls to Demons
Tough Durango team takes win 7-0, refuses to relinquish a set
To reach the state tennis tournament in the always-difficult Region VIII, Montezuma-Cortez High School tennis players must defeat opponents hailing from Aspen, Durango, Vail, Montrose and Steamboat Springs.
An unenviable task for sure, and based on the Panthers’ performance against Durango High School on Tuesday, Sept. 24, a task that may be impossible.
Looking to assert themselves as contenders for state, the Panthers were thoroughly beaten by the Durango Demons, losing all seven matches, winning no sets and securing only 20 games.
At No. 1 singles, Panthers’ senior Logan Dean was beaten handily by Ryder Searle, losing in straight sets, 0-6, 1-6. Although Dean remained competitive during many points, Searle’s consistency proved to be the deciding factor.
“He’s known for being one of the top guys in our region,” Dean said of Searle. “In my opinion, it was an off day for me, but he’s a good player. He did well.”
Playing at No. 2 singles, Panthers’ senior Graham Cathey was equally outclassed, losing to Fred Edwards, 1-6, 1-6. For Cathey, the challenges presented by Edwards’ unorthodox style were impossible to overcome.
“(Edwards) has the only one-handed topspin backhand in the league,” said Cathey. “It’s pretty different to deal with. He’s also left-handed so the normal strategy of hitting to the backhand is suddenly hitting to his strength.”
In the No. 3 singles match, Panthers’ senior Si Eckart played hard, but in the end, was defeated by Dylan Blair, 0-6, 1-6.
After the Panthers’ forfeited the No. 1 doubles match, the Panthers’ No. 2 doubles team, of Samir Berrada and Xavier Eddy, worked hard to give the team a boost. Unfortunately, their efforts went by the wayside as the duo lost to Alec Ensign and Drew Downs, 1-6, 0-6.
At No. 3 doubles, experience proved to be the difference as Panthers Tyler Daniel and Dayne Black lost to Tim Martin and Blaise Page, 4-6, 2-6.
“They were very consistent,” said Daniel. I think that we played our hardest. They were just a pretty good team.”
Playing at No. 4 doubles, Panthers Wyatt Yates and Cody Canzona were defeated by Jake Schanfarber and Amon Ledger-Swensen, 0-6, 3-6.
“Consistency is the difference,” said Panthers’ head coach Dan Wood.
That boils down to how much experience (Durango players) have had. They are good athletes and they do a great job of keeping the ball in play.”
Hoping to improve after their recent struggles, the Panthers will return to action Friday, Sept. 28, at home against Fruita, before playing Montrose at home on Saturday, Sept. 29.