Thursday, June 29, 2017 This Week's Paper

Rams fall to Shelton, hope for league title

// Veteran leaders eye postseason

Despite a setback in Shelton, the Wilson boys’ tennis team is aiming for at least a share of its second straight league title, with several playoff-seasoned veterans in the fold again. The Rams fell 3-2 to the Highclimbers on Oct. 2, as senior Peter Koessler led Wilson’s effort with a solid 6-0, 6-0 win in number-one singles over Josh Priest.

“I was just making my serves and winning points – focusing on each point individually and making my shots,” said Koessler, who finished seventh in the singles bracket at the 3A state tournament last spring. “I was playing pretty well.”

Koessler is one of three Wilson seniors that advanced at least to the district tournament last year, and his only singles loss of the season came to Olympia’s John Stormans, who was a member of the 4A doubles championship squad last year.

“He’s been steamrolling through the league,” said Wilson coach Quoc Nguyen of Koessler. “He’s known as a grinder. He keeps the ball in play and lets the other guy make the mistake.

“What he’s been able to develop this year is his short game. He’s able to come to the net and take the short balls and do more damage with the short balls.”

Senior Seth Thomas and junior Cooper Eddy put up the Rams’ other win against the Highclimbers, defeating Dalton Jaske and Andrew Johnson 6-3, 6-2. The duo advanced to the district tournament last year, and aims even higher this year.

“This is their third year together,” Nguyen said. “Cooper and Seth are starting to peak at the right time.”

Wilson Senior Boris Potapov and teammate Davin Hanton fell to Shelton’s Alex Deacon and John Pentony 6-2, 6-3 in an upset. Still, Nguyen views Potapov – who advanced to the state tournament in the doubles bracket last year – as a threat to do damage in the postseason as a singles player. The Highclimbers’ Brandon Goodale knocked off Jeremiah Bullock 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in number-two singles, while Zach Lund and Justin Demattos defeated Ernie Enkhanzhaya and Yann Shaw 6-1, 6-2 to help give Shelton the win.

But for the Rams, and Koessler in particular, the ultimate goal will be advancing to the district tournament – which now takes place in the fall instead of the spring – and then advancing to state once again.

“I’m hoping to get in the top four,” Koessler said. “What I experienced at state was sort of eye-opening. The skill level grows exponentially. The guy I lost to last year graduated, so I’m more confident this year. I strive to do well.”