by Jerry Carter
Special to the Sounder
As far as premiers go, Head Coach Toomas Liblik and his Orcas Christian Saints opened their inaugural men’s tennis season with a performance worthy of a red carpet.
Debuting on the road at Oak Harbor earlier this month, the Saints swept the Wildcats’ junior varsity squad 7-0, dropping a mere five games along the way.
“I think the kids really listened to their coach, especially when it comes to serving,” said Assistant Coach Andy Rivera. “They did a great job holding serve and there was a good spirit among the team.”
Freshman T. J. Liblik opened the day in convincing fashion with a 6-0, 6-0 victory playing in the first racket spot. Sophomore Diego Rivera followed in the two spot with another straight-set victory 6-0, 6-2.
“It’s the first tennis team on Orcas and that’s cool,” added Rivera. “No one really knew what we could do.”
T.J. Liblik and Diego Rivera teamed up in the lead doubles match and made quick work of their opponents, 6-0,6-0. Both of the following doubles matches ended with identical scores as Nick Rivera teamed up with Gabe Sturk in the two spot while Evan Daoust and Owen Lucas finished up the near-perfect contest in the third and final doubles match.
“We were just starting out,” noted Nick Rivera. “The match brought our team closer together.”
Nick captured the third racket singles match 6-1, 6-2 and Sturk swept the fourth and final singles contest 6-0, 6-0.
Sean Haggith is the seventh member of the squad and, with the majority of the team being freshman and sophomores, the future of the Saints latest sports program is built for the long haul.
Orcas Christian will play its home matches this season at Buck Park with the schedule to include home and away matches against neighboring Friday Harbor High School.
The first opportunity to play at home is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3 versus Friday Harbor. The Wolverines are also looking to build from the ground up as their men’s tennis team returned to action last season in a limited capacity with hopes of completing a full season in 2019.
One of the greatest challenges for a school with a new program, as well as one in a rebirthing process, is to find surrounding schools that have teams in that sport and vacancies on the upcoming schedule.
The opponents may change over the upcoming seasons but OCS has hit the ground running.