The Camas boys tennis team defeated the Union High Titans 4-2 on the red courts at Camas High School, Oct. 3.
Both Camas and Union came into the match with perfect records midway through the season, but Camas was the only team to keep its undefeated season rolling, despite having an extremely young team.
“It’s different than other sports like football and basketball, where you really need size. In tennis it’s more about skill, technique and quickness, and we have some very talented young players on our team this year,” Camas head tennis coach Jonathan Burton said.
Papermakers Rylan Marshall and Jacob Gianan won the No. 1 doubles match in two intense sets. The match was decided in the third set, as Marshall’s big serves and powerful overheads at the net pushed Union back to the baseline.
Gianan’s quick hands dominated the baseline game, which helped the Papermakers secure the win with a 6-2 third set.
The third doubles match extended into darkness, as the second set was decided under the lights. Zach Gregson and Matei Vilalaru-Morus wrapped up the third set with a much-needed victory for the Papermakers.
Sophomore, freshman top ranked players
Akash Prasad is the Papermakers’ No. 1 boys tennis singles player this season.
The Camas High sophomore rose to the No. 1 position after intensely working on his game during the off-season.
Burton said he saw fire in Prasad’s eyes last season, when the then-freshman asked on the bus if he could play in the No. 1 position — despite being ranked No. 3 at the time.
“I asked Akash, ‘Why do you keep asking me this? Because you are not the No. 1-ranked player.’ And he told me that he only wanted to play the best,” Burton said.
In the off-season Prasad hired a private coach and worked out four to six hours a day to gain strength and skill.
“I followed the schedule that my coach gave me, which included things like swimming and yoga classes,” Prasad said.
Asked how yoga helped his game, he responded, “I really have no idea.”
Prasad lost a tough match to the best player on the Union team, Kyle Mosier, 6-3 7-5.
“He’s got a good serve that kicks up a lot, making it tough to deal with. And he’s unpredictable, because he doesn’t play in local tennis clubs,” Prasad said about Mosier.
Camas’ No. 2 boys tennis player, Sunny Wang, may be in his first year of high school, but he still managed to pull off a dominating 6-0 6-0 victory, a score known as a “double bagel” in the tennis world.
Like Prasad, Wang has played in local tennis clubs since he was a young child, and currently trains year-round at Club Green Meadows in Vancouver.
“It’s the only sport I play, because I find it interesting,” Wang said of tennis. “There’s so much strategy involved, and it’s just plain fun.”
It’s been several years since the Camas boys tennis team made it to the postseason, but it’s a trip Burton plans to make this season.
“We have a collection of talent this year that is sufficient for us to go deep into the postseason,” Burton said.
Camas has now played all of the teams in the Greater St. Helens 4A League, and the Papermakers will play all of those teams one more time before the season wraps up.
Union and Skyview have been the toughest teams for Camas to beat; however, halfway through the season, the Papermakers remain undefeated and focused on keeping their perfect record rolling down the road toward districts.