Sports

SK has some holes to fill from last year's team

The most critical position for any tennis program was filled for the South Kitsap boys team before the season began.

Senior Dalton Vavra returns for another season as the No. 1 singles player for the Wolves.

“We’ve been fortunate to have that the last few years,” South coach Todd Olson said. “Dalton has state experience, so he knows what it takes. He does a good job leading the team.”

But the state of tennis programs in the Narrows League are determined more by quality depth than talented singles players. That partially is because the way matches are broken up. Some leagues feature contests with six singles and three doubles matches. The Narrows has just two singles matches, while there are three doubles contests.

Because of that, Olson places a strong emphasis on featuring a strong No. 1 doubles team. Both members of last year’s team, Mike Waas and Kramer Mott, graduated.

“Kramer Mott and Mike Waas were our two big losses from last season that we’re going to miss,” Olson said. “They were big, heavy hitters.”

In their places are Michael Lyman, who was the team’s No. 2 singles player last year, and Di Yin, an exchange student from China.

“Michael just felt like a good fit to stick in there and deal with that pace (because he’s been) exposed to it,” Olson said. “Having Di come in as a foreign exchange student is pretty nice.”

There are concerns, though. While Olson said Lyman features some power, he’s concerned about how the duo will handle more powerful doubles teams.

“We don’t seem to have the pace that a lot of the other top schools in the state have at number one doubles,” Olson said.

His concern extends to the No. 2 singles spot, where Cedar Heights Junior High freshman Blake Staudenrous won the competition for that role. But Olson also acknowledges the newcomer’s talent when assessing the team.

“Our number one and two singles players are going to be right there with all the top players in the state,” he said.

Staudenrous said he was surprised to win the role and has tried to learn from Vavra, who qualified for the state tournament last spring.

“We like to practice with each other,” he said. “It’s a great learning experience.”

Staudenrous previously played in Italy before his family moved in May to Port Orchard. Olson said he was excited to land a talented transfer.

“I always say it’s about time,” he said. “It seemed like we never were on the winning end of those deals.

“He doesn’t have the power yet to compete at the highest level, but the future looks good.”

Olson said he was without several players in the Wolves’ 4-1 win Wednesday against Foss in the season opener. Most of those players were ineligible because they missed a practice and he expects them back for the team’s next match Sept. 11 when the Wolves host Bellarmine Prep.

He said “football takes a lot of the boys,” which leaves the program with 25 players. Olson also coaches the girls tennis team in the spring and it has 70 players. He hopes the boys team has just enough for a successful season.

“You don’t have as many kids as maybe you would like challenging each other,” he said.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 5 3:30pm Foss

Sept. 11 3:30pm Bellarmine Prep

Sept. 13 3:30pm at Olympia

Sept. 19 3:30pm at Mount Tahoma

Sept. 20 3:30pm at Gig Harbor

Sept. 25 3:30pm at Central Kitsap

Sept. 27 3:30pm Wilson

Oct. 2 3:30pm at Stadium

Oct. 4 3:30pm North Kitsap

Oct. 8 3:30pm Lincoln

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