A long trip to Casper came up a little short for the Powell High School tennis teams on Saturday.
Playing against Kelly Walsh and Natrona County high schools, the Powell boys and girls were narrowly edged out in a number of close matches. The PHS tennis squads emerged on top in just two of 20 matches.
“We just need to keep getting better,” said PHS head coach Ray Bieber.
The Lady Panthers' No. 3 doubles team of Shelby Walton and Haylee Humphries claimed a win over Kelly Walsh, while several other PHS competitors had tight matches.
“The boys, every single match was close, but we lost all five,” said Bieber.
Natrona County brought the best girls team PHS has seen all year, the coach said, and took all five girls matches.
“Natrona's probably the most improved team in the state, that I've seen,” he said.
On the guys' side, No. 2 doubles players Jacob Larson and Marshall McArthur took down their N.C. opponents for the Panthers' lone win.
Bieber said his squads need to work on getting ahead in matches, keeping balls in play, and cutting down on double faults and unforced errors.
With only eight days of practice left before the regional tournament begins, “We've got to spend every minute doing good things,” Bieber said Monday.
For the Panthers, No. 1 singles player Eric Curtis pushed both his Casper opponents to three sets, but narrowly came up short. The senior lost 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 to Kelly Walsh and 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Natrona County.
At No. 2 singles, senior Jacob Larson fell 6-4, 6-3 against Kelly Walsh. Against Natrona County, freshman Mark Schiermeister lost a 6-3, 6-3 decision in the slot.
PHS' No. 1 doubles team, senior Tyler Morgan and junior Todd Lewis were edged out in two sets that went to tie-breakers against Kelly Walsh — 7-6(4), 7-6(3). They fell 6-1, 6-2 to Natrona County.
For the Kelly Walsh match, Schiermeister and sophomore Marshall McArthur teamed at No. 2 doubles for a 6-3, 7-6(3) loss. Against Natrona County, however, Larson and McArthur partnered for a 6-4, 6-3 win.
No. 3 doubles players Patrick Huang, a sophomore, and Dillon Jeffs, a senior, lost 6-4, 6-3 and 7-5, 6-3 to Kelly Walsh and Natrona County, respectively.
On the girls side, No. 1 singles player senior Lisa Schiermeister fell 6-4, 6-4 to Kelly Walsh and 6-0, 6-1 to Natrona County.
At No. 2 singles, sophomore BreaAnn Hollenbeck came up short against Kelly Walsh, 6-3, 7-5, and 6-0, 6-0 against Natrona County.
Juniors Emily Kath and Lacey Eckerdt lost 6-1, 6-3 and 6-3, 6-0 to Kelly Walsh's and Natrona County's No. 1 doubles teams, respectively.
Senior Marquette McArthur and sophomore Sheridan Roling, at No. 2 doubles, fell to their counterparts at Kelly Walsh (6-4, 7-5) and Natrona County (6-4, 6-0).
Seniors Shelby Walton and Haylee Humphries beat the No. 3 doubles team at Kelly Walsh, taking a 6-3, 6-2 victory. They fell by an identical, reversed score against Natrona County.
On Tuesday, Powell will head to Cody for a 3:30 p.m. re-match with the Broncs and Fillies. On Friday, PHS will host Sheridan and will welcome Gillette to town on Saturday.
“We've got a really tough league,” said Bieber. “It just gets tougher.”