The Snow Canyon tennis team is counting on its experience to compete for a Region 9 title this season. With seasoned talent at many levels, the future is now for the program.
Matt Douglas is a solid example of the simple notion.
The senior has compiled past success, which includes a first-round win at last year’s 3A state tournament. And now, for his final journey on the court, he has earned the right to be at the forefront. Douglas is slotted in the coveted No. 1 position for Snow Canyon this spring, a slot where the talent pool in Southern Utah runs deep and is full of weekly challenges.
For Douglas, his progression has continued to rise this season. On Wednesday evening, the veteran snagged another region win, defeating Hurricane’s Zac Pickering in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.
“At the beginning, I was over-hitting, which has been something that I’ve done a lot this year,” Douglas said. “But I was able to correct it and hit more consistently and keep the rallies going.”
Pickering, a junior, is playing his first season in No. 1 singles. Tigers coach Marc Manuele said although Wednesday wasn’t the ideal outcome for the letterman, he is happy to see Pickering taking the necessary steps to improve.
“Playing against the top players, I think he’s improving each week,” Manuele said. “I think mentally he can compete with other No. 1 players out here. But skill-wise, he’s a little younger, so it’s going to take time. … We’re just excited to see what he’ll be able to do for the rest of the season and next.”
Douglas’ experience, however, proved to be too much in this matchup.
The Warriors’ starter stayed the course near the baseline and kept the pressure up on his counterpart to secure both games. Douglas said efficient groundstrokes with good angles was key to the win, adding those aspects has been a focal point for him to develop since the end of last season. Regardless of the venue, Douglas said the biggest difference from last year to the present is his forehand effectiveness.
Douglas has enough talent to compete for a high region seed for next month’s state tournament. To do so, however, the senior knows he’ll need to finish the remaining few weeks of the regular season strong, which will require staying mentally tough.
“When things weren’t going well, I used to let my frustration get the best of me,” Douglas said. “But that’s something I’ve gotten a lot better at. … I’m able to balance out my emotions and keep my temper in check.”
Douglas went on to say his steady composure stems from experience. And now, with his senior year more than halfway concluded, he is set to make one final run at competing for a title.
In other action, the Warriors also captured the other four matches Wednesday.
Snow Canyon’s Jon Morgan bested Jon Payne, 6-1, 6-1 in No. 2 singles while teammate Trevor Muse defeated Josh Parker in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2 in No. 3 singles.
In No. 1 doubles, Matt Morgan and Logan Wrigley rolled past Ben Perkins and Lincoln Last, 6-1, 6-0. In No. 2 doubles, Hunter McCarthur and Devin Radmall defeated J.D. Gates and Blake Lawrence, 6-3, 6-1.