Sports

CK tennis peaking as postseason nears

Central Kitsap’s No. 1 singles competitor, Aya Sugimoto, placed sixth in state last year. - Jesse Beals/file photo 2007
Central Kitsap’s No. 1 singles competitor, Aya Sugimoto, placed sixth in state last year.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/file photo 2007

t Cougars have experience to prolong playoff run.

Ken Allen is a coach in a good position.

The Central Kitsap girls tennis coach has five players with state experience, just three of whom are seniors.

So as the Cougars inch closer to the postseason, that has Allen feeling pretty darn good about where the team is at.

“So far, I feel pretty good,” Allen said of his 9-0 Cougars. “In the win-loss column, we’re doing well.

Completing matches, it’s been tough as far as matches.”

Thanks to poor weather, the team has missed just a couple varsity matches. It’s matches beyond the varsity that have suffered from an onslaught of rain and even snow.

In fact, today’s Olympic Invitational at South Kitsap High School has been cancelled due to the impending threat of lowland snow and rain.

But for CK’s varsity, it’s been same old, same old.

Led by No. 1 singles competitor Aya Sugimoto, sixth at the 4A state tournament a year ago, the Cougars are one of three undefeated Narrows League teams (Gig Harbor and Bellarmine are the others).

“She just loves playing her singles,” Allen said of Aya. “She’s always very committed to getting better, performing better. She wants to do better than last year. She wants to get higher than sixth.”

So far, the results have been encouraging. Aya Sugimoto took another big win, 6-0, 6-0, in helping the Cougars to a 5-0 win against South Kitsap Tuesday.

Her sister Sachi Sugimoto is once again teamed up with unrelated Katherine Sugimoto as the Cougars’ No. 1 doubles pairing.

“They’ve got a lot of experience,” Allen said of all three Sugimotos, who are all seniors. “And postseason experience now too. That’s obviously very nice for them.”

Katherine and Sachi also won Tuesday, topping SK’s Emily Hulscher and Chloe Helms 6-3, 6-2.

Throw in No. 2 singles competitor Corinne Wurden and No. 2 doubles combo Nicole Morrison and Aimee Rozier and CK’s future is already gaining valuable experience.

Last year, Wurden and Rozier teamed up to finish in the top eight teams at state, just a week after falling to the Sugimotos for the district crown. This year, Wurden is going solo while Morrison and Rozier team up.

Either way, Allen said he likes the experience all those players have built up in a short time.

“Aimee and Corinne, last year they were freshmen,” Allen said. “They kind of got that crash course. But they don’t know anything different from a trip to state. They’re still on the young side, but with a lot of great postseason experience.”

With Morrison also back next season, CK knows it won’t suffer too big a drop off after the Sugimotos graduate.

“We have three great players coming in behind them,” Allen said. “And Calla Chun (CK’s No. 3 doubles with Brianna Harrison) is gonna be a great player too. They’re the next wave of strength.”

With the postseason approaching, Allen said his team is focused.

“It’s just preparation,” he said.

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