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Tennis: Legacy’s top singles remain electric in early season

Arvada West 5, Legacy 2
No. 1 singles Luca Paumerleau, Legacy, def. Aaron Therkildson, AW, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3; No. 2 Eli Van Zandt, Legacy, def. Tom Bailey, AW, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6; No. 3 Bill Baerman, AW, def. Austin Phan, Legacy, 6-1, 6-1. No. 1 doubles Alex Schwab/David Guttlein, AW, def. Mark Olson/Brian Hang, Legacy, 6-2, 6-1; No. 2 Matt Glassmeyer/Jadon Tamguma, AW, def. Shad Kozlson/Toshi Holmes, Legacy, 6-1, 6-3; No. 3 Wiley McLaughlin/Jake Quintana, AW, def. Austin Martuiez/Alex Millinazzo, Legacy, 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 Rudy Waters/Jack Troctschel, AW, def. Mat Comeau/Andrew Nudhalfen, Legacy, 6-0, 6-0.

ARVADA — Gritty games by its top two players Wednesday highlighted what turned out to be a rocky match for Legacy tennis.

Luca Pomerleau and Eli Van Zandt showed incredible poise against Arvada West, winning their No. 1 and 2 singles matches with steady play in split sets. But the seniors were the exceptions at the Arvada Tennis Center. The Wildcats proved too much for shorthanded Legacy, handing the Lightning their second loss of the season.

Even with the team taking its lumps in the 5-2 loss, Legacy coach Alan Godman saw positives in the match.

“Our seniors showed their leadership and experience today,” Godman said. “A lot of our younger players commented on what they saw out of them, that they were playing high-percentage tennis and weren’t trying to kill the ball on every shot. So, hopefully some of that is sinking in.”

Van Zandt produced the most nail-biting finish of the afternoon, having to show immense patience against West’s No. 2 singles player. Legacy’s lone returning Class 5A state qualifier endured 21/2-hour bout to beat Tom Bailey 4-6, 6-2, 7-6. Much of what extended Van Zandt’s match was his struggle with net play; he walked away with a slew of unforced errors every time he forced the issue.

Van Zandt’s return game, on the other hand, was lights-out. His patience and consistency on the baseline were too much for the Wildcat.

Pomerleau kicked off his match strong, but had to dig deep to remain undefeated in No. 1 singles play. The senior had Aaron Therkildsen on the ropes for the first set and a half, but the Wildcat proved resilient in Pomerleau’s 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 win. The West player rallied to take the lead in the second set and appeared set to do the same in the third, before the Lightning player buckled down.

“He was just getting more of his shots in and was patient,” Pomerleau said. “He’d slice it short court, forcing me back in. I’d go for it and it would end up in an unforced error.”

West swept the rest of the matches in straight sets, but Legacy faced obstacles before it even took the court. The team was shorthanded with No. 2 doubles player John Dominico absent Wednesday because of illness. Godman filled the void by splitting his No. 1 doubles team, Mark Olson and Shad Karlson.

Karlson partnered with Toshi Holmes and the duo produced the closest match in doubles play, with the No. 2 team showing some spunk in the second set. But the team could not find the right touch through the course of the match, falling to Matt Glassmeyer and Jadon Tanguma 6-1, 6-3.

Even with some play needing some fine-tuning, Godman was pleased with what he saw Wednesday, particularly out of his top singles players.

“Luca is right about where he needs to be, while Eli is still struggling a little bit,” the coach said. “But Eli is experimenting with his game right now, just trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”