Netters have golden touch at Hays
By Rod Haxton, editor
Sometimes the best matches aren’t always the ones you win.
A championship showdown between Scott City’s Joe Evans and Abilene’s Jacob Berven featured rocket serves between two of the top players in Class 4A.
“I have no doubt that some of the serves were hitting a hundred (miles per hour),” says SCHS head coach Steve Kucharik. “It was a clinic on serving.”
Evans lost 8-4 to the Abilene senior who finished fourth at last year’s state tournament, but Kucharik feels the SCHS sophomore gained more than he lost.
“Joe showed that last year’s trip to state was no fluke and that he can compete with the best in 4A,” said Kucharik. “It’s by playing against kids of that caliber that Joe learns what he needs to work on so he can continue to get better.”
Evans cruised through pool play, dropping just eight games in three matches.
It took Evans a little while to adjust to the very windy conditions on Monday afternoon. He had four double-faults in the opening game and fell behind 2-1 before he gained control of the match and defeated Liberal (8-4). He followed with wins over Russell (8-1) and Hays (8-3).
Berven was even more dominant in his three matches, losing just three games against opponents from WaKeeney, Great Bend and Hays.
The championship match lived up to expectations.
“It was two guys slammin’ the ball at each other - big serve after big serve,” says Kucharik.
“By playing someone like him I learned things I need to work on,” said Evans. “I don’t get a chance to see a big serve like that very often, so I need to get better with my serve return.”
A Doubles Sweep
Scott City nailed down the team title with first place finishes in the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, along with a runner-up finish in No. 2 singles.
Bo Hess and Isaac Evans have proven to be a winning combination after barely being challenged on Monday. They defeated Great Bend (8-2) in the championship match to boost their record to 8-2.
It wasn’t the title match the Beavers were anticipating after Great Bend upset Abilene (8-5) in pool play.
Kucharik had originally intended for Hess and Joe Evans - Isaac’s brother - to be the No. 1 doubles, but decided to go a different direction.
“Isaac was a very good singles player last season, but he’s also played with a multitude of partners over the last three years,” notes Kucharik. “I wanted to see what him and Bo could do as a team.”
The pair opened the season with a second place finish at the Great Bend Invitational prior to this week’s action at Hays.
“They just need court time together so they can learn to trust each other and know what the other is going to do,” Kucharik says. “One of the things I like about the way they play is that there’s no quit in them. If they fall behind they keep coming at you and they’re going to make you earn every point.”
SCHS pulled off a mild surprise in No. 2 doubles when Nic Cheney/William Cupp won a gold medal with a lopsided 8-2 win over Great Bend in the finals. Cheney has seen only limited varsity competition while Cupp, a freshman, was playing in his first varsity competition.
The duo swept their pool play matches with wins over Liberal (8-4), Russell (8-1) and Hays (8-6).
Senior Hayden Nevills was a runner-up in No. 2 singles with his only loss coming in the finals against Abilene. In pool play he defeated Russell (8-2) and Hays (8-2).
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