Strategy earns CK victory

When the Central Kitsap and Olympic girls tennis teams get together, the rivalry goes deeper than the inter-district duel. That’s because CK coach Ken Allen used to play for Oly coach Don Patraw.

“It’s kind of fun,” Allen said. “I still ask him for advice a lot. He knows what he’s doing.”

And even though Allen’s Lady Cougars topped Oly 3-2 at the Fairgrounds on Wednesday, Patraw was still smiling.

“It’s rude for him to beat me,” Patraw joked. “After all I did for him? I’m not going to tell him anything anymore.”

The relationship between the two is symbolic of the CK-Oly rivalry when it comes to the courts. Many of the tennis players have known each other, and learned together, for years.

“I don’t know if rivalry is even the best word for it with tennis,” Allen said. “A lot of them live in the same neighborhoods, take the same lessons at the club. They know each other so well. But there’s a little bit of bragging rights there.”

CK earned them, using a strategic change to pick up with victory with a doubles sweep.

Allen realized that he had a tough task at hand against Oly’s No. 1 and 2 singles players, Rebekah Kolstad and Ashley Roberts. Rather than break up his No. 1 doubles duo of Nika Botkin and Corinne LeTourneau, who were the No. 1 and 2 singles players for the Lady Cougs last season, Allen took his current No. 1 singles, Aya Sugimoto, and paired her up with Kai Fritchman on CK’s No. 3 doubles team. Jenae Spader moved up to battle Kolstad.

“We knew Don has strong singles players,” Allen said. “Rebekah has been so good all year. We wanted to keep Nika and Corinne together until we get a nice established doubles record.”

The move paid off. Kolstad eased by Spader 6-0, 6-1 while Roberts beat Courtney Foos 6-2, 6-2 to put Oly up 2-0 on the singles side.

In the doubles match-ups, Fritchman and Sugimoto took down Oly’s Katherine Abad and Kristina Bueno 6-0, 6-2. Sachi Sugimoto (Aya’s sister) and Katherine Sugimoto (no relation) then took down Lady Trojans Megan Hudon and Jacqui Burton 6-3, 6-0 in the No. 2 doubles contest. That left the No. 1 doubles battle between LeTourneau and Botkin and Oly’s Leah Torgerson and Ali Burton. After a pair of close frames, the CK duo would pull out the deciding win, 6-3, 6-2.

“It’s great,” Allen said. “We needed it today.”

Patraw said despite the loss, he was pleased with his girls’ play.

“I’m really pleased with the way the team has grown with their games this year,” Patraw said. “It’s always fun to play your district rival. It’s more fun when you win.”

Patraw didn’t want to adjust his line-up to compensate because he didn’t want to get Kolstad or Roberts out of their game.

“They are very experiences players, our senior leaders,” Patraw said. “They’re both our co-captains. The ones next year know what they have to do.”

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