Team continues to learn

With only four players returning Oak Harbor boys tennis coach Horace Mells knew it was going to be a learning experience for the Wildcats this season.

At 0-7 in the Western Conference North, 2005 has been just that for OHHS.

Despite early difficulties in a tough division, Mells is happy with what he’s seen from his team of late.

“They’re starting to play a lot better,” he said.

The Wildcats most recently fell 6-1 at home to Mount Vernon on Wednesday afternoon, but put forth several solid individual efforts.

Gathering the lone win for Oak Harbor was sophomore Tyler Abrahamse, who won his number four singles match 6-3, 6-4 over the Bulldogs’ Taylor Roozen.

“He strikes me as a player who has potential to do really well,” Mells said. “He recently worked his way up from number four to number five and could end up higher than that.”

Oak Harbor narrowly missed getting a second victory at number one singles, where first-year varsity singles player Tyler Rico went three sets with Mount Vernon’s Eric Rindal.

Rindal, who is a four-year varsity player, won the first set 6-3, before Rico battled back to take the second 7-6 in overtime.

A more experienced Rindal, however, prevailed 6-1 in the final set to take the match.

“The third set kind of got away from him a little bit,” Mells said of Rico. “He got a little distracted and by the time he regained his focus the set was over.”

In their seven WesCo North matchups this season Oak Harbor has won a combined five individual matches. Three singles wins have come from senior Jared Mafnas, Abrahamse and Rico, while the doubles teams of Abrahamse and Ryan Evans and Jordan Kingma and Paul Jewell have also won.

As the season progresses Mells sees more victories coming. At the same time, however, he wants his players to focus on self improvement.

“I told them at the beginning of the season how things were going to go,” Mells said. “A couple of the guys were taking the losses hard, but now they’re overcoming that and their play has really improved because of that.”

Oak Harbor played at Marysville last night and travels to Cascade, Wednesday, Sept. 28 for the start of the second half of the season.

Singles-Rindal (MV) def. Rico 6-3, 6-7 (10-8), 6-1; :Lien (MV) def. Mendoza 7-5, 6-3; Rolnick (MV) def. Mafnas 6-3, 6-3; Abrahamse (OH) def. Roozen 6-3, 6-4. Doubles-M. Gonzales-C. Gonzales (MV) def. Lura-Merritt 6-2, 7-5; Brannon-Findley-Meier (MV) def. Anderson-Evans 6-2, 6-4; Carter-Jensen (MV) def. Filkins-Jewell 6-0, 6-3.

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