RICHLAND - Sporting stronger numbers than expected, Hanford's boys tennis team grabbed a 4-1 MVL victory from the Sunnyside boys yesterday.
"We ran into a buzzsaw at Hanford with their boys team," said Grizzly Coach Troy Whittle. "That's probably the deepest team I've seen since we won the league title in 2003. I will be shocked if they're not the league champions this year."
The lone bright spot for the Sunnyside boys (1-1) was Danny Plesha's 6-0, 6-0 whitewashing of Hanford's Jake Knox in first singles competition.
Justin Snyder of Sunnyside was defeated 6-0, 6-0 by Hanford's Curtis Lan in second singles, and the Grizzly duo of Tyler Thompson and Mitchell Sanchez were swept 6-4, 6-0 by Mcloughlin Thomas and Chad Witherspoon.
Thompson/Sanchez led 4-3 in the first set of their match, only to yield nine straight set wins to their Hanford counterparts.
"You have to play the net well in doubles, and Hanford pushed us back at the baseline while they were on the net," Whittle noted.
In the closest boys match of the day, Hanford's Kevin McAllister and Jon Witherspoon outlasted Hunter van de Graaf and Jake Wavrin 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the second doubles match.
"That was just a close match, we could have very easily won it," said Whittle. "Lack of consistency at the net cost us. That's going to a huge focus on what we're doing in practice."
Boys play concluded with Sunnyside's Jacob Kresse and Jesus Alquicira losing 6-1, 6-2 to Jonathan Luo and Wandrille Hubert.
In girls play Wednesday, it again came down to the third set of the final match as the Lady Grizzlies were defeated 3-2.
Hanford's Molly Knox defeated Regina Mendez of Sunnyside 6-0, 6-0, but the Lady Grizzlies' Helen Shuttleworth answered with a 6-2, 6-3 win in second singles to knot the match at 1-1.
Sunnyside took a 2-1 lead in first doubles, when Jerika Martinez and Jessica Gudino prevailed 6-2, 6-3 over Hanford's Anjani Joshi and Roanna Wang.
Hanford's 6-1, 6-4 victory in second doubles over Hannah Paulakis and Capri Miles again tied the match at 2-2.
That set the stage for the decisive third doubles match, as the pressure again fell to Sunnyside's Gayle Hansen and Addy Hernandez in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 loss to Jordan Jackson and Shamina Hossain of Hanford.
"They played great the first two sets," Whittle said of Hansen and Hernandez. "But I made a mistake, I shouldn't have told them the third set was for the (team) match. They put too much pressure on themselves, they froze up."
Even with the loss, Whittle said he saw improvement in the girls team, which dropped to 0-2 on the season. "We made huge improvements, Hanford defeated Wapato 4-1 and we almost beat Hanford."
Sunnyside plays its home opener this Saturday against Quincy.