TWIN FALLS — The Twin Falls High School tennis team came into Tuesday saddled with obstacles.
No. 1 boys singles player Matthew Sato returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., late Monday night, and he took an AP physics exam hours before taking on rival Canyon Ridge. Bruins No. 1 girls single Maddie Aardema was battling a flu and shin splints. One of their No. 1 girls doubles players, Emily Pilling, was out with a concussion she sustained at last week’s Capital Invitational, where a ball drilled her in the head.
Three Twin JV players competed for the varsity on Tuesday.
Sato and his male teammates handled their Riverhawk opponents, taking 4.5 of the six available boys points. The Twin girls, on the other hand, fell to Canyon Ridge by the same point total Tuesday at Twin Falls High School.
“We were just down,” Twin coach Ann Vogt said. “Hopefully, we can make it through the week and get healed up for districts.”
Sato had spent the previous five days in Washington, D.C., at the National Science Bowl, hosted by the Department of Energy. His Twin Falls High School science and math club qualified for the bowl a few months ago.
Sato got back to Twin around 11 p.m. Monday night, went to bed around midnight and dragged his jet-lagged body to school Tuesday morning. His AP physics exam should have been his toughest test of the day, but Landon Davidson made it close.
Sato swept Davidson 6-3, 6-3 in their first meeting last month, but the Bruins senior lost Tuesday’s first set 2-6. Fatigue, wind and a tough opponent all contributed to the slow start.
The second set was even more lopsided than the first one. This time, Sato won 6-0. Davidson battled back in the final set, but Sato held on 6-4 to win the No. 1 boys singles match.
“I was trying to bring the energy level up, get the adrenaline going,” Sato said. “I knew with all the wind and everything, I’d have to grind.”
A similar situation played out on the court next to Sato and Davidson, but the outcome flipped.
Aardema beat Bethany Romney 6-3, 6-3 on April 11, and she jumped ahead 6-2 after one set on Wednesday. The final two sets were all Romney. She won the second set 6-2, and she took the tiebreaker game 10-2.
Vogt lobbied for the tiebreaker precisely because of Aardema’s illness and shin splints.
“The second set, every single game instead of losing 40-30, I would win 40-30 or win the deuce. It was pretty close, but you could feel the difference.” Romney said. “I just played a lot more aggressive the second set.”
Canyon Ridge’s lone boys points came from its No. 2 doubles team (Emir Mehic and Parker Ficklin) and No. 1 mixed doubles team (Barrett Humble and Emma Hamstra). Those duos won 6-0, 6-4 and 6-2, 6-3, respectively.
Twin earned points on the girls side from its No. 2 girls doubles team (Katie Carter and Camille Cox) and No. 2 mixed doubles squad (Maddie Evans and Jaxon Walter). Those pairs won 7-5, 6-0 and 6-2, 6-0, respectively.
“We’ve been getting in a little more practice than we have been, just because the weather’s gotten a little bit better,” Canyon Ridge coach Tiffany Moilan said. “Our girls are starting to improve and starting to peak at a better time for us, because what matters is districts.”
Twin Falls 6, Canyon Ridge 6
#1 TF Matthew Sato defeats Landon Davidson (2-6, 6-0, 6-4).
#2 TF Teagan Jacobson defeats Max Jenson (6-3, 6-2).
#3 TF Corban Ward defeats Conner Dahlquist (6-2, 6-0).
#1 TF Tyler Bowman & Brandon Mix defeat Ryan Packham & Duncan Roberts (6-2, 0-6, 6-0).
#2 CR Emir Mehic & Parker Ficklin defeat Sam Blazek & Trey Willes (6-0, 6-4).
#1 CR Bethany Romney defeats Maddie Aardema (2-6, 6-2, 1-0(super tie 10-8)).
#2 CR Persia Thatcher defeats Brooke Pierce (6-1, 6-1).
#3 CR Mercedes McKinly defeats Shelby Lyda (6-2, 3-6, 6-4).
#1 CR Alana Alexander & Arica Wallace defeat Ellie Manning & Paige Fullmer (6-4, 6-1).
#2TF Katie Carter & Camille Cox defeat Hallie Memmott & Olivia Hall (7-5, 6-0).
#1CR Barrett Humble & Emma Hamstra defeat Kate Cox & Josh Morton (6-2, 6-3).
#2TF Maddie Evans & Jaxon Walter defeat Emily Plant & Angel Cantu (6-2, 6-0).