Rocklin sweeps doubles to down NU tennis
Nevada Union hosted Rocklin for its season home opener, but due to inclement weather in recent weeks Thursday was just the fourth time the Miners had taken to the courts.
NU practiced just three times prior to its first match.
But apparently the Miners were still game, as the battle at the baseline went to the visiting Thunder by a tight 5-4 margin.
“This would have been a big win for us,” said fourth-year Nevada Union boys tennis coach Nick Bodley. “We have lost to Rocklin the last few years and it would have shown what kind of progress we have made.”
Last season’s NU team graduated one singles player, but this season’s squad still three new names on its roster.
The Miners No. 1 singles player K.J. Odgers topped Rocklin’s Tyler Clark 6-4, 6-4. The senior and team captain, who was also the team’s number one last year, offers what Bodley described as a power game with a strong serve.
“He is a very good baseline rallier, he likes to power people off the court,” Bodley said. “Playing No. 1 in our league is tough. We expect challenges against Granite Bay and Del Oro, but when playing lesser teams we expect him to take the opportunity.”
Sky King is a junior and the teams number two singles player. This is his third year on the varsity and second year as the team’s number two. He fell to Chris Hartman 6-0, 6-2.
“He is a steady consistent player that works the ball around,” Bodley said. “He hangs out at the baseline and returns the ball waiting for his opponent to make a mistake.”
The No. 3 player is a new name and face to Nevada Union. Senior Andy Cowell and his family moved here from Illinois, where he was ranked at 65th in the 16-and-under division. Cowell fell in three sets 0-6, 6-1, 6-2 to Rocklin’s Anthony Salizar.
“He challenged Nick Thompson for the for the three spot and won.” Bodley said. “Since we have not had a lot of practice, I don’t really know what kind of player he is, but looks to be a good all-around player.”
Thompson, also a senior, enters his fourth season in the number four court for the Miners. He emerged with a 6-3, 6-0 win over David Cummings Thursday.
“He is down the ladder a little, so I expect more wins this season,” Bodley said. “He should push a few players around.”
Another new face on the court for the Blue and Gold is freshman Weston Messer, who moves real well on the court, has a flat serve and Bodley said he is working on a kick serve.
“I have known about him for a couple of years. He was playing at the Ridge Racquet club when I first saw him,” Bodley said. “His sister (Maddie) was the captain of the NU girls team. He comes from a tennis family.”
The sixth and final singles player is junior D.J. Radulovic, who won 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 over Lucas Hauptman of Rocklin. This is Radulovic’s first season as a singles player, after playing exhibition doubles his freshman season. He played No. 3 doubles during his sophomore season.
“He beat two singles players from last year’s team for his spot,” Bodley said. “He has played year-round against adults, has worked very hard on his game. He has tenacity. He is in there for the fight and comical. He keeps himself relaxed.
The high school players play best two out of three and the team plays six singles players and three doubles teams for a total of 12 tennis players in nine matches, not including the exhibition matches.
Rocklin swept all three doubles matches Thursday, clinching the 5-4 victory after NU had taken four of six singles meetings.
The top two teams in the Sierra Foothill League go to the section tournament as a team. Del Oro and Granite Bay are the favorites to represent the SFL. The Miners lost to Granite Bay in its first match of the season 9-0.
“At the end of the season, each team sends its top two singles players as well as its top doubles team to compete in a league playoff,” Bodley said. “The top two go to the section tournament.”
Odgers, the team’s captain who picked up a racket for the first time when he was in the seventh grade, feels his team will make the playoffs and then hang in there as long as they can.
“Success on the court is about finishing every match and giving it everything you have,” said Odgers, who lives Nevada City and went to Seven Hills Middle School. “In college I will probably play intramurals, I doubt I would make the college team.”
“I’m expecting a lot out of them this year.” Bodley said.
Scott P. Hopper is a sports writer for The Union. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4231.
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