Greyhounds win final home match of season


Pericic comeback seals win

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Greyhounds boys tennis team hosted their final home match of the season on Thursday, March 28, from the tennis courts at Heilman Park against Orcutt Academy and emerged victorious, 5-4.

It was a tight Ocean League match that was exciting to watch for all that made the trip to the south side of town to support their Greyhounds who have been relocated while the high school is undergoing construction and turned the former tennis courts into parking last year. According to those close to the situation, a meeting was held last week with Atascadero Superintendent Tom Butler who said the courts are ready to begin being worked on once the weather improves. The new tennis courts are rumored to be going somewhere where the bus barn currently sits, behind the softball fields.

Playing off campus, with the recent weather has created several difficulties on the season but the hard work of the coaches and players have led to a successful season.

“[playing at Heilman] It’s a challenge, it is even more of a challenge than before because of all of the rain,” Atascadero head coach Lori Bickle said. “It usually means for me that I have to come out at around noon, like for a home match, where I have to come out and roll the puddles out so the sun can do its work so we are ready to go by 2:30.”

There was not a cloud in the sky on March 28 and every match mattered against the Spartans as the Hounds won the singles portion of the match 4-2 but lost two doubles matches. Atascadero salvaged a win in the third doubles match due to an Orcutt forfeit.

The Hounds have a young team this season, are playing without a single senior on their roster and are led by junior Nathan Hontz who plays in the No. 1 singles position.

“We have a nice team with a solid 10 players,” Atascadero head coach Lori Bickle said. “We have one freshman and three or four juniors and the rest are sophomores. We’ve got a fairly young team, really, the returners from last year all have great experience and have really upped their game from last year which is nice.”

Josh Tarcia, Jaedyn Imhoff, Andy Pericic, Seth Camp and Ryan MacLean made up the rest of the Hounds’ singles lineup on Thursday. Tarcia and Imhoff occupied the Hounds No. 2 and No. 3 positions and each were only able to win two games in their singles matches as they both lost 6-1, 6-1.

Pericic played in the No. 4 spot on Thursday and was instrumental in the Hounds win as he came charging back to win his match in the third and final game. Pericic fell behind early losing his first set 6-1 as his two teammates above him also had but battled back in the second set winning 6-1 to force a third and final set. The third set went back and forth but Pericic was the lone man left standing after the marathon tiebreaker ended 11-9.

Camp and MacLean who held the final two spots for Atascadero also won their singles matches in the third set. Camp rolled to victory in the first set of his match, winning 6-1 before surrendering the second set 6-4 and bouncing back for a big 10-3 third set victory. MacLean also won his third and final set 10-3 but took a slightly different route than Camp to get there. MacLean won a really tight first set 7-6 before and then lost the second set 6-4.

Atascadero’s move down to the Ocean League as part of the Central Section and has experienced success and hope for a shot at the playoffs this season.

A playoff berth the for Atascadero boys tennis team would be fantastic for the program but the entire Central Section has had some problems with misalignment in our first year of the move and tennis is no different.

“They put all of the Central Coast schools into Division 1,” Bickle said. “So, although we are going to postseason, we will be competing against teams that are in Division 1...We should be in at least [Division] two, I would be happy with two, three would feel really comfortable but Division 1 puts us up against the teams that beat AG.”

There have been some questionable seedings for a couple different sports and schools in the North County, most recently the Templeton girls soccer team was somehow seeded lower than Orcutt Academy in Division 3 even though they won the league. The seeding robbed the Eagles of a second home playoff game and also forced them to face the number 1 ranked team in the section in the second round.

© 2019-Atascadero News


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