2017-10-19 / Sports

Leelanau tennis team caps season in regionals

LEELANAU TENNIS player Jackson Ciolek (left) sends a ball over the net last Thursday as doubles partner Drew Barber looks on. 
Photo: Kelly Ciolek LEELANAU TENNIS player Jackson Ciolek (left) sends a ball over the net last Thursday as doubles partner Drew Barber looks on. Photo: Kelly Ciolek The Leelanau tennis team put together one of its best performances of the year at the Division 4 regional meet in Ludington last Thursday, but matchups with higher-seeded opponents in six of eight flights proved too much to overcome.

Leelanau was left on the outside looking in as the boys from Traverse City St. Francis won all eight flights and advanced to the state finals.

“This was an amazing group of kids to coach and we loved every minute of it,” Leelanau coach Tim Sutherland said of his 2017 squad.

Nothing seemed to go Leelanau’s way in singles action.

Xander Okerlund capped his impressive season at No. 1 singles with a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Cole Hudson of Fremont. In No. 2 singles, Kylie Hendershot fell 6-2, 6-1 to Keven Quinlan of Elk Rapids. Blake Duddles lost in No. 3 singles to Michael Steffans of Big Rapids 6-1, 6-0. Margot Hazael-Massieux followed suit in No. 4 singles with a 6-0, 6-3 loss to Ben Ward of Whitehall.

“Just about every flight had better comparable scores than earlier in the year,” Sutherland said. “That shows significant progress in technique, consistency and strategy.”

The highlight of the day came courtesy of two freshmen, Drew Barber and Jackson Ciolek, who recorded a 6-0, 6-3 win over Fremont in No. 2 doubles.

The top doubles team of Thomas Hursey and Gray Raymond also played its best match of the year, Sutherland said, but dropped a close match to the No. 2 seed from Ludington 6-3, 6-4.

“We will miss Thomas, the only senior of our top 12 players,” Sutherland said. “We’ll miss his mentoring of not only Gray but the rest of our young team, and the great sportsmanship and competitiveness he showed. We will also miss Carson Reay, who was a four-year letter winner going on to school at the University of Pittsburgh.”

Cece Schaub and Sydney Hazelton dropped their matchup with Ludington in No. 3 doubles 6-1, 6-2 before Carson Klocko and Leland Macke dropped their semifinal contest with Whitehall in No. 4 doubles 6-1, 6-1.

The Leelanau team wrapped up its season on a high note, however, as players and parents came together for some season-ending fun at The Leelanau School.

“We had 13 parents and four siblings play at Leelanau School with about 20 players from our team,” Sutherland said. “I could tell how proud our incredibly supportive parents were of passing on this wonderful lifetime sport to their children. We had a lot of fun and laughs, too.

“A big shout out to Cherry Republic and my brother, Bob Sutherland, for hosting our banquet and their continued support over the years of our program.”

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