Westwood, Ishpeming tennis teams tune up for Mid-Peninsula Conference tourney

Westwood singles player Jake Kerkela hits the ball back during a high school boys tennis meet against Ishpeming at the Patriots’ courts on Tuesday. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

ISHPEMING — Westwood High School defended its courts well Tuesday with an 8-0 boys tennis sweep over Ishpeming in each team’s final competition before Thursday’s Mid-Peninsula Conference meet that comes back to the same site.

Westwood head coach Chris Jackson said it was a nice turnaround from Monday’s loss to West Iron County.

“Things are going very well at this point in the season,” Jackson said. “This late in the year, you want to sustain some things. It’s natural to see a few dips, but it’s all about avoiding the lows. We’re doing a good job keeping things in a positive direction.”

It took three sets for Westwood’s Brett Fredrickson to defeat Hart Holmgren, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

At No. 2 singles, Jake Kerkela defeated Jaden Tucker 6-1, 6-1, while at No. 3 singles Adam Hyttinen downed Jake Clark 6-0, 6-0, and in No. 4 singles Anthony Couveau was victorious over Darius Yohe 6-1, 6-2.

Clark said the Hematites viewed Tuesday as another opportunity to fine-tune their game before a crucial part of the schedule.

“We were out here to have fun against a really good team,” Clark said. “Everyone has put a lot out and made improvements on our team.

“We’re still focusing on figuring out where everyone is going to be and where our skill levels are to see how we can get the best of everyone’s abilities and compete stronger.”

At No. 1 doubles, Austin Pierpont and Dylan Willey defeated Kyle Hooper and Kenny Ito 6-1, 6-1, and in No. 2 doubles Jarod Anttila and Bryce Traver downed Isaac Lazenby and Griffin Pepin 6-1, 6-2.

Jacob Adriano and Zach Niemi teamed up to defeat Andrew Engler and David Raihala at No. 3 doubles, 6-2, 6-2, and in No. 4 doubles Seth Smith and Matt LaFountain were winners for Westwood over Devin Kent and Matt Penrose 6-0, 6-2.

Ishpeming head coach Erl Langness said his team needed the playing time Tuesday.

“We’re doing well in singles, but we need more consistency with our doubles,” he said. “A lot of it has been due to rain and other school events. This court time and presence helps, and this week will get us tuned up for U.P. finals.”

Jackson said his team needs to bring the right mindset in the M-PC meet Thursday to earn another win.

“We know heading in that Negaunee is going to be the favorite, but if we play our best, I think we have a chance,” Jackson said. “We’re going to need our top performers to step up big. Whether you win or lose, it’s important to gain something every time.”

Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is rbressette@miningjournal.net.