McNary tennis battles at district tournament

McNary’s Grant Goesch competes at the Mountain Valley Conference District Meet on Monday, May 6 (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

The McNary girls and boys tennis teams closed out their respective seasons last week at the Mountain Valley Conference District Tournament May 6-7. The boys team competed at the Salem Tennis and Swim Club, while the girls played in Sunriver.

“I am very pleased with this season. There was improvement over the season across the board. The girls who put in the effort really developed and we have set ourselves up to be even more successful next year,” McNary girls tennis coach Sean Smith said. “I hope even more girls try tennis next year and we can continue to develop a competitive program.”

Gina Munguia and Natalia Gonzalez started off the first day for the Lady Celts by winning their opening match in thrilling fashion (6-4, 4-6, 7-5) against Mountain View’s top doubles squad to move onto the second round. The duo would drop their second match 6-1, 6-3. 

After losing their first round match, Jorie Skipper and McKinsey Jarragin rallied to win their first round consolation doubles match 8-5. Ashlyn Lyda and McKenzie Proctor also picked up an a victory (8-4) on the consolation side. 

Even though it’s only her first year playing tennis, Lexy McKay proved that she could hang with some of the best singles players in the MVC.

McKay picked up an easy 8-1 win in her first consolation match, then followed it up with an 8-4 victory to advance to the consolation semifinals — where she fell 8-4.

“It is amazing for a first year player to make it that far in the bracket; so that was very exciting. (McKay) has great athletic ability and is very coachable,” Smith said. “She has the ability to get to the ball and get it back, which leads to success in our league.”

Avery Haymowicz also took home a win in her first consolation match (8-3), helping the Celtics finish in seventh place. 

“I was impressed with the attitude of the whole team. They are all so positive and come off the courts, win or lose, excited about their match and how they played,” Smith said. 

On the boys side, Luke Skipper started off the tournament with a dominant 6-0, 6-0 win against South Salem’s Ben Byler in the first round of the singles tournament. 

“Luke Skipper is a serious competitor. He is one of those players that hates to get beat. And he is crafty,” McNary boys tennis coach Marc McAvoy said. “He plays a very patient and cerebral game. A lot of his success is related to his ability to outlast his opponent. I have seen him beat some very quality players over the last two seasons.”

Adam Graneto was the other McNary boys to pick up a win on the singles side ans he defeated Grant Burk from Mountain View 8-5 in the first round of the consolation bracket. 

The freshman doubles team of Grant Goesch and Jaden Rhines won McNary’s only other match in the first round of the consolation doubles tournament (8-6). 

“Grant and Jaden both improved by leaps and bounds the last three weeks of league play. They also played their best tennis at districts and started to have some flashes of greatness,” McAvoy said. “I think they got a glimpse of what they could do with more experience and practice. I am hoping to build on that next year.”

“They have a huge upside and I look forward to see them develop as players and as young men the next three years.”

The McNary boys team had to break in a lot of new players this year, but McAvoy was pleased with the fight that they showed every day. 

“The word for the season was courage. Kids showed a lot of courage to come out and try a new sport and then to have to go out day after day and play versus competition that was at a pretty high level. But nobody quit and nobody complained. I’m proud of them,” McAvoy said.