BOULDER — Growing pains hurt.
Ethan Katz experienced more than his fair share of them last year playing No. 1 singles for the Boulder Panthers.
A year older, a year wiser and taking the court with the knowledge of what it takes to win at the top of the ladder, Katz is hoping to parlay his early success into greater things this season.
On Tuesday afternoon against Broomfield's Austin Katterhorn at Centennial Middle School, Katz adapted to his opponents slower pace — which at times gave him fits — and eventually closed him out 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Katz victory spearheaded a strong Boulder team effort, as they beat an up-and-coming Eagles team 5-2.
Closing out the match wasn't easy for Katz, who was up 6-5 and serving for the match. He quickly went up 40-0 in what he hoped was the final game, but watched three match points go by the wayside on three consecutive unforced errors.
Katterhorn, who played No. 1 singles last season at Centaurus, would eventually get the game and force a tiebreaker, but Katz was able to avoid a third set.
"I had some opportunities that I didn't take advantage of, but he fought hard and he deserved those points," said Katz, whose team beat Niwot 4-3 on Monday night.
Katz understands that to succeed this time around, compared to last year, he has to be mentally tough and knows the physical attributes of his game will take care of themselves. Especially against someone that plays Katterhorn's style.
"Just committing to slowing down the pace and really getting into the points instead of closing them out," he said. "It's tough.
"There were a lot of matches last year, when I was in a similar situation and just went downhill and couldn't pull it out. And all those matches I struggled through last year really helped me out today."
One of the bright spots for Broomfield, which had also started the season with victories over Fort Collins and Lakewood, was No. 2 single player Giovanni Intermesoli.
The junior, who hails from Macerata, Italy, dispatched Everett Martin in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2.
It has been a brilliant start to the season for Intermesoli, who is still adapting to the United States hard courts as opposed to the traditional clay that is seen in most of Europe.
"I really like playing here, because there are no clay courts," said Intermesoli, who will make the most of his year at Broomfield by being a three-sport athlete. "I definitely prefer playing here."
He is keeping his goals simple and his biggest one is: "I want to know better English," he said.
Boulder's Henry Hawk was victorious in three sets over Broomfield's Mason Lewis, winning 6-4 in the third.
BOULDER 5, BROOMFIELD 2
At Centennial M.S.
Singles — 1. Ethan Katz, Boulder def. Austin Katterhorn, 6-4, 7-6 (3); 2. Giovanni Intermesoli, Broomfield def. Everett Martin, 7-5, 6-2; 3. Henry Hawk, Boulder def. Mason Lewis, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Doubles — 1. Will Enterline/Hans Callahan, Boulder def. Mitchell Manwaring/Jack Vanderberg, 6-2, 7-5; 2. Luke Silvester/Nick Jordan, Boulder def. Cameron Lupo/Charlie Vanderberg, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2; 3. Wyatt Stack/Charlie Esson, Boulder def. Will Darkey/Henry Kuhna, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; 4. Kobe Joseph/Chris Strobel, Broomfield def. Nathaniel Lim/Calvin Caldwell, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-1.