Havre Daily News Sports Editor
For Havre teams in any sport, the chance to knock off a Class AA opponent, particularly one from Great Falls, is one the Ponies will always take.
The Havre High boys tennis team not only accomplished the feat on Tuesday afternoon in Great Falls, the Ponies did it twice.
The HHS boys swept a dual with the Great Falls schools. Their counterparts, the Pony girls, just missed out on a sweep of their own, instead settling with a split.
"Overall, it was a good day for Havre High tennis," said HHS head coach George Ferguson. "The boys were extremely dominant in the dual format. It is always a good feeling for us to go to Great Falls and come home unbeaten.
Havre opened with a 5-2 win over Great Falls High to get things going.
The Ponies swept the doubles portion as the teams of Marc Mariani and Gary Wagner, Coda Tchida and Billy Wagner and Lucas Hamilton and John Christian had little trouble, all picking up easy wins.
"On the girls side, I also thought we fared pretty well. We lost a couple of really close matches in the CMR dual that could have turned in our favor very easily, so I am really pleased with how both teams played on Tuesday."
In the singles portion, Havre's No. 1 Kyle Baltrusch fell to the Bison's Spencer Gray. However, No. 2 Chase Castloo cruised past Brian Knutson and No. 3 Scott Miller defeated David Currie. In the No. 4 singles match, Zach Alfred knocked off Havre's Todd Roe in a tough match.
The Ponies followed the win over Great Falls High with a clean sweep of CMR. The Ponies won all seven matches in the dual, most in dominant fashion.
In the singles, Castloo and Miller both finished undefeated for the day. Castloo knocked off Austin Erwin 6-3, 6-4, while Miller cruised past Jake Griffith 6-0, 6-0.
"Chase Castloo is someone who really stood out for us," Ferguson said. "He played doubles last week for us because that is where we needed him. Tuesday, he moved back to singles and played really well against to quality opponents. He is steadily becoming a dominant player on our team and that only adds to our depth."
Baltrusch bounced back from the loss to defeat Josh Tierney 6-1,6-2, while Roe also rebounded from an earlier loss.
"All of our singles players played really well," Ferguson said. "Kyle played a tough match against Gray, but he played well and that is what is important right now. Scott also played really well, which is big for us."
In the doubles, Tchida and Billy Wagner and Hamilton and Christian dominated their opponents.
The only close match came at the No. 1 doubles as Mariani and Wagner held off rivals Nick Richards and David Anderson 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6).
"Our doubles teams were dominant all day long," Ferguson said. "It was good that Marc and Gary got pushed against a very good CMR team because, truthfully, they just haven't played many matches together this season and they needed that stiff competition."
Like the boys, the girls had little trouble with Great Falls High, also scoring a 5-2 win.
Amy McLain led the way, defeating talented freshman Samantha Selstad 6-2,6-4. Molly Proctor also scored a win at No., defeating Brittney Smith 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a marathon match.
Havre's No. 2 Megan Rice lost a tough match to Lindsey Robinson, while Christen Kittelson lost a three-set heartbreaker to former teammate Katy Dow 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5).
In the doubles, Havre had little trouble. The No. 1 team Keelie Solomon and Steph Flatau cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win, while Kari Gorder and Kristi Hollingshead and Alexa Lipp and Hailey McLain also picked up relatively easy wins.
"Steph and Keelie looked strong," Ferguson said. "Keelie was under the weather somewhat, but she battled through it. Her and Steph are getting better and better every time they step on the court together."
The Pony girls almost duplicated the boys feat of a sweep, but came up just short against CMR, falling 4-3.
McLain defeated defending Class AA state singles champion Quincy Carter 8-5 in a big match. Kittelson bounced back from the previous loss to defeat Lisa Mason 8-6. Rice and Proctor lost close matches.
"Amy McLain looked really impressive against two very good players," Ferguson said. "Selstad is a very good freshman who has a very unorthodox style, and she is a tough opponent for anybody. But Amy handled the adjustments well and really played great tennis. She also looked very sharp against Carter. I couldn't be more pleased with how she played."
In the doubles, Flatau and Solomon defeated Marina Orcutt and Katie Russell 8-4 for Havre's only win. Lipp and Hailey McLain tried to give Havre one last chance at a win, but lost a heartbreaker 9-7 to Brittany Scheer and Sara Palagi.
"I thought the girls fared pretty well," Ferguson said. "We lost a couple of really close matches in the CMR dual that could have turned in our favor very easily."
Still, winning three of four matches from AA schools is very good accomplishment.
"Overall, I am really pleased with how both teams played and competed," Ferguson said.
Havre will be back in Great Falls this weekend for the Great Falls Invitational.
Havre 5, GFH 2
Spencer Gray, GFH def. Kyle Baltrusch, HAV, 6-2,6-2; Chase Castloo, HAV def. Brian Knutson, GFH, 6-3,6-2; Scott Miller, HAV def. David Currie, GFH, 6-0, 6-4; Zach Alfred, GFH def. Todd Roe, HAV, 6-5, 7-6 (7-1).
Marc Mariani/Gary Wagner def. Tyler Fagenstrom/Jan Bierbrauer GFH, 6-1, 6-0; Coda Tchida/Billy Wagner, HAV def. Dan Santin/Oliver Santin, 6-1, 6-1; Lucas Hamilton/John Christian, HAV def. Austin Davis/Tyler Hessler, GFH, 6-4,6-0.
Havre 7, CMR 0
Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Josh Tierney, CMR, 6-1,6-2; Chase Castloo, HAV def. Austin Erwin, CMR, 6-3,6-4; Scott Miller, HAV def. Jake Griffith, CMR, 6-0, 6-0; Todd Roe, HAV def. Mike Kelly, CMR, 6-0, 6-0.
Marc Mariani/Gary Wagner, HAV def. Nick Richards/David Anderson, CMR, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6); Coda Tchida/Billy Wagner, HAV def. Kohootek/Skovron, CMR, 6-0, 6-0; Lucas Hamilton/John Christian, HAV def. Huseby/Breuer, CMR, 6-0, 6-1.
Havre 5, GFH 2
Amy McLain, HAV def. Samantha Selstad, GFH, 6-2, 6-4; Lindsey Robinson, GFH def. Megan Rice, HAV, 6-3, 6-4; Molly Proctor, HAV def. Brittney Smith, GFH, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2; Katy Dow, GFH def. Christen Kittelson, HAV, 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5).
Keelie Solomon/Steph Flatau, HAV def. Kaylee Attinger/Linda Howard, GFH, 6-0, 6-0; Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead, HAV def. Kim Currie/Brianne Handwerk, GFH, 6-2, 6-3; Alexa Lipp/Hailey McLain, HAV def. Becca Triplett/Nicole Monguizzi, GFH, 6-2, 6-3.
CMR 4, Havre 3
Amy McLain, HAV def. Quincy Carter, CMR, 8-5; Charlie Murphy, CMR def. Megan Rice, HAV, 8-5; Mary Anderson, CMR def. Molly Proctor, HAV, 8-4; Christen Kittelson, HAV def. Lisa Mason, CMR, 8-6.
Steph Flatau/Keelie Solomon, HAV def. Marina Orcutt/Katie Russell, CMR, 8-4; Jordan Skovron/Emily Horton, CMR def. Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead, HAV, 8-1; Brittany Scheer/Sara Palagi, CMR def. Alexa Lipp/Hailey McLain, HAV, 9-7.