"Depth, experience key for netters"
June 9, 2008 · Updated 7:45 PM
"More players with more ability. And the timing couldn't be better for tennis coach Mike Anderson. When Bainbridge moves to Metro next year, his team will play 11 matches each time rather than the current seven in the Olympic League. This year we're already looking ahead, he says. We have a deeper team, so more kids will get some varsity success and we'll be a step ahead when we get to Metro.We're in good shape for this year with a good combination of experience and youth. Five boys and six girls already have letters.The top returnee is junior Elliot Beam, who won his first 20 matches before losing his final two in the state tournament. The defending boys' singles champion at the district level, he's also a USTA-ranked player in the 18-under division.He'll definitely make another run at State, Anderson says.Behind Beam are sophomore Sam Marshall - last year's rookie of the year - and senior Willie Storch.Sam teamed with Willie and came within one win of State, Anderson says. He'll play more singles this year. And Willie's a steady player. He'll provide us with leadership as a co-captain.The pair had a 16-3 doubles record last year.The other two returnees are seniors Evan James and Ben Deines, both one-year letter winners who Anderson sees as primarily doubles players.Sophomores Patrick Bradshaw and Brandon Weiss and junior Trenton Gibbons are up from the JV squad last year. Sophomore Jonathan Beukes transferred from Central Kitsap.On the girls' side, last year's number one and two singles players both return: senior co-captain Jessica Antilla (8-4) and junior Kristen Carmel (7-2).They're a great pair because they are both experienced. They're likely to play some doubles this year and the goal is for them to go to state as a doubles team, Anderson says.Like Marshall and Storch, they came within a match of making it to State last year.Number three on the depth chart is senior Anna-Lisa Breiland. She's a great all-around competitor, Anderson says. She has a good sense of knowing what it takes to win. She's good in both singles (6-2) and doubles (5-1).Juniors Katie Beck, Sara Suffis and Lilly Grainger are the other letter-winners, most of whose experience has been in doubles.Anderson is high on sophomore Amanda Allender. She's an exciting newcomer, he says. She'll fill in singles somewhere. Junior Jen Bradshaw and sophomore Maggie Fick round out the girls' squad.Coming off a 12-1 record last year, 6-1 in the Olympic League behind Port Angeles, Anderson sees a more difficult challenge. Port Angeles will be tough again. And I don't want to discount Bremerton, who'll be tougher than in the past, he says. They have two good boys in singles, and a girl who was No. 1 in Pacific NW 14s.Central Kitsap is decent on the boys' side, with a ranked player, he says, and North Kitsap is normally deep, with a good No. 1 girls' singles player.In the past, No. 2 singles has usually been almost automatic for us but not this year. Because of that, our doubles teams will have to step up more, Anderson says. In the past we've relied on our singles but it may not be as easy to get three or four singles points in each match this time. So we need an all-around team effort. "