Gering boys tennis team tops Scottsbluff, Alliance

Scottsbluff's Eric Olsen returns a shot during a tennis triangular Thursday at Scottsbluff High School.

The Gering boys tennis team picked up a pair of wins Thursday over Scottsbluff and Alliance in a triangular at the Scottsbluff and Gering high school tennis courts.

Gering topped Scottsbluff 5-4 as the No. 2 doubles team of Anthony Ramirez and Vince Moreno prevailed 8-6 in the final doubles match of the day.

The Bulldogs also defeated Alliance 7-2. Scottsbluff finished the triangular 1-1.

The Bearcats defeated Alliance 5-4, getting two big tie-breaker wins for the victory. First, it was freshman Brady Sindt who beat Richie Toedtle 9-8 after earning a 7-1 tie-breaker victory. Then the No. 1 doubles team of Sean Mercer-Smith and Blake Wilberger earned a 9-8 (7-3 tie-breaker) win over Michael Gomez and Anthony Hare.

For Gering, Alex Lupher went 2-0 at No. 3 singles, including earning an 8-6 win over Alliance’s Gomez. Lupher then earned an 8-2 win over Scottsbluff’s Jackson Frank.

All three coaches said it was a good opener for their squads.

“The wins were very good for our team,” Gering coach Matt Palamo said. “The boys were a little rusty in the early sets, but they worked through it like all the other kids, and they were awesome matches. And to come to a 4-4 tie with Scottsbluff and then win the final match 8-6, what more can you ask from Gering.”

Gering had a number of solid performances. Besides Lupher winning both of his singles matches, the Doll brothers, Brian, a senior, and Jason, a sophomore, went 2-0 in doubles. It was the first time the brothers played together in a high school meet.

“It was special to them,” Palomo said. “It was big brother and little brother playing together, and it was special for them and their parents.”

Brian and Jason Doll defeated Scottsbluff’s Gunner Buckhammer and Patrick Madden 8-1 to wrap up the day. Earlier, the brothers defeated Alliance’s Trajan Garcia and Brian Gould 8-2.

Other wins for Gering against Scottsbluff including Brian Doll defeating Logan Woodward 8-5 at No. 1 singles, and Ramirez topping Court Muhr 8-4 at No. 4 singles.

Scottsbluff’s wins against Gering came from Eric Olsen, who topped Jason Doll 8-4 at No. 2 singles; Giovanna Aldridge, who beat Moreno 8-4 at No. 5 singles; and Mercer-Smith, who defeated Noah Miller 8-4 at No. 6. Scottsbluff’s only doubles win came from Mercer-Smith and Olsen, who held off Gering’s Miller and Lupher 9-7.

Gering also had plenty of success against Alliance. Gering had wins from Jason Doll, 9-7 over Anthony Hare at No. 2 singles; Moreno, 8-2 over Richie Toedtli at No. 5 singles; and Miller, 8-0 over Trajan Garcia. Gering won all three doubles matches as well.

For Scottsbluff, it earned an impressive win over Alliance, but it wasn’t easy. Woodward got Scottsbluff going with an 8-4 win over Parker Cyza at No. 2 singles. The Bearcats also earned singles wins at No. 4 when Owen Para topped Michael Gomez 8-4 and then when Brady Sindt beat Toedtli 9-8.

Scottsbluff’s No. 1 doubles team of Mercer-Smith and Wilberger won 9-8 over Gomez and Hare, and then Mercer-Smith and Parra won 8-3.

Alliance’s victories included Gould earning an 8-2 win over Mercer-Smith, Hare topping Olsen 8-2, and Ian Nelson beating Wilberger 8-4.

Scottsbluff coach Ron Swank said his squad played well considering he did a lot of experimenting.

“I was really pleased with the guys all the way around,” he said. “I played 13 guys in 24 positions, so I could have played different people in different places, but that is not what I am after. I am after getting my guys better and moving the program forward.”

Swank said his team is young, but the Bearcats got experience on Thursday.

“I have 13 guys, and I can’t emphasize that enough — that I fielded two teams,” he said. “I fielded two separate teams, and I don’t know if too many teams will try that. But that is how to build a program. I got my young guys in. I had at least three or four ninth graders playing and some sophomores back from last year. The juniors are starting to lead, and I have one senior that could have won his last match. I couldn’t be happier with the guys. They did a great job. They worked hard.”

Alliance also has a young team, and head coach Katie Patrick said her boys played well in their first competition of the year.

“I think we hit a lot of balls, and we were consistently going to dueces and playing tough matches,” she said. “We just didn’t get there today. We will continue working hard.”

Scottsbluff and Gering will be back in action this weekend at the McCook Invite, where they’ll face Holdrege, McCook, and Lexington.

Palomo said his squad picked up some momentum heading into the competitive tournament on Saturday.

“We picked up momentum for the tournament this weekend,” he said. “We will work on different double teams to see what the chemistry is like over the next two weeks and then we will set the teams. Right now, we are doing a lot of experimenting, but I am very happy where they are.

“The boys have to keep playing well. It will be a big challenge for them because there are some good teams like Holdrege, Lexington and McCook. The big thing is to just progress and learn as you go and keep playing.”

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