Sports and Schools

Wolves snare spot in state tournament | Tennis

Ben Etzell, front, and Aaron Curtin qualified for the state tournament by placing third in doubles at quad-district. - Jim Waller / Whidbey Examiner
Ben Etzell, front, and Aaron Curtin qualified for the state tournament by placing third in doubles at quad-district.
— image credit: Jim Waller / Whidbey Examiner

Coupeville doubles partners Aaron Curtin and Ben Etzell earned a spot in the 1A state tennis tournament by placing third at quad-district Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle.

Since some schools play boys tennis is the spring, the state finals are May 30 and 31 in Yakima.

It could be an interesting spring for Curtin and Etzell. Both play for the Coupeville baseball team, and the state baseball tournament is also in Yakima on the same dates.

Tennis coach Ken Stange said he is "hoping the baseball team goes all the way to the final four, then we can see the boys truly do it all."

Coupeville sophomore singles player Sebastian Davis also competed at quad-district but did not advance.

Curtin, a junior, and Etzell, a senior, started quad-district with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over a Charles Wright Academy pair.

Stange said his duo played well in the first set, overcoming a cold, wet morning as well as their opponents.

Things "went south" in the second set, Stange said, but Curtin and Etzell "came back strong in the third, balancing power with consistency."

The final set went deuce several times before the Wolves prevailed.

The Coupeville pair lost to the two-time defending state champion Grenley twins of the Charles Wright Academy 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals.

The loss dropped Curtin and Etzell into a winner-to-state match against a Vashon pair.

An early lead in the first set carried the Wolves to a 6-4 win. After dropping the first three games of the second set, they roared back to force a tie-breaker. They jumped to a 6-2 lead in the breaker and won 7-6(7-5).

Like at district, Stange said, Curtin and Etzell "wanted it more."

"They worked their tails off to chase down every stray ball. They hustled. They were amped up. They bounced back when they got down. They functioned as a single being. Now they have an opportunity to play in the state tourney," he said.

Davis lost 6-0, 6-0 in the first round to eventual tournament champion Jack Katzman of University Prep.

He fell 6-2, 6-3 to a Vashon opponent in the consolation bracket.

Stange said, "The experience of playing against two state qualifiers will benefit Sebastian in the future. I look forward to two more strong years with Sebastian on our team."

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