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Arlington tennis tandem heads to districts
STANWOOD — Arlington tennis got a silver lining at divisionals.
In a season that could have a rebuilding sticker attached to it, doubles tandem Austin Taylor and Jake Prunier advanced to the district tournament.
“We’re a little giddy because we had a down year and this is my responsibility: to get kids to districts,” said Arlington coach Sean Cunningham.
The two became the first Arlington duo — boys or girls — to play for a divisional title in the past six years, but lost to Marysville-Pilchuck’s Andrew VanderStoep and Chris Rasmussen 6-2, 6-1.
The Tommies’ doubles team played a more aggressive style that paid dividends against Taylor and Prunier.
“They attacked the net — that was really the difference — and we didn’t have an answer for that,” said Cunningham.
Still, the Eagles’ duo had to defeat Lake Stevens’ Kramer Hansen and Tyler Storz, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to earn a spot in the title match. They also defeated M-P’s Jared Randall and Sam Josephson, 6-1, 6-3, a day earlier.
“They played really strong tennis, and held their service games,” said Cunningham. “And that’s important because then all you’re looking for is a break.”
Taylor, Arlington’s No. 1 singles player during the regular season, didn’t have a doubles partner until the week before the tournament.
“We knew that singles is not the way to make it to district for us, like last year,” said Cunningham. “I gambled with Austin, knowing he had experience in divisionals.”
Once Cunningham saw Prunier play with Taylor though, the choice became simple.
“Austin is more of a ground stroke player and Jake is more of a net player that tries to get poaches in when he can,” Cunningham said.
The top three singles teams moved on to the district tournament.