The Hermiston Bulldogs set aside convention on the tennis courts Wednesday, ignored a chance for their state hopefuls to earn wins toward district tournament seeds, and shuffled their lineups to assure the team wins over rival Pendleton.

The strategy was nearly flawless as the boys swept the Buckaroos 8-0 in Pendleton while the girls avenged a dual loss from earlier this season, winning 6-2 in Hermiston.

“You come over here, and it’s friendly of course, but everyone wants to win,”?said Hermiston’s Vincent Whitesell. “It’s all about competition here.”

“They took their best players out of the doubles side and went after us,”?said Pendleton boys’ coach Chris Holdman. “You hate to get swept but Hermiston is a really good team. They’re deep. We had some chances ... and were close in a few matches just couldn’t close it out.”

Hermiston had already beaten Pendleton 5-3 this season, but this time split No. 1 doubles team Whitesell and Lucas Wyant to play No. 1 and No. 2 singles.

Both of those players picked up three-set wins. Whitesell beat Pendleton No. 1 Sam Reeves 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, and Wyant beat Peter Anderton 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

“I?just noticed that he changed his strategy so I needed to change up mine,”?Whitesell said of the back-and-forth No. 1 match. “It just really worked out in the third set. I?just aimed for his backhand a little more, just really focused on each and every point.”

“I’ve just got to keep consistent, just stay strong through the whole match,”?said Reeves, whose serving accuracy left him in Set 3. “I felt pretty strong in the second set but then just came back in the third and, I?don’t know. He picked it up a bit and I?sort of fell back.”

Whitesell, who will return to doubles play at districts, said it’s good to mix it up throughout the season.

“I love doubles and that’s where I?want to be, but singles obviously helps me a lot,”?he said. “Keeping the ball in, focus a little bit more, just everything. It helps me work on the little things.”

The Hermiston girls also split their top doubles team to put Sarah Hawman and Zoey Garcia at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively. The strategy was also about getting each of Hermiston’s top doubles players a chance to hit more shots in competition.

Pendleton’s Jessica Clark didn’t let Hawman get a whole lot of work in, though. She won 6-3, 6-1, showing again why she’s the Bucks’ best chance at a state berth this season. Keren Hampton was filling in as the Bucks’ No. 2 singles for ill sister Cassie, and had a tougher go with Garcia, but beat last season’s No. 1 Bulldog 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Although Hawman and Garcia were put away, the lineup shift paid dividends toward the team win elsewhere.

By moving down two spots in the singles lineup to No. 3, Katrina Vanderploeg was able to cruise to a 6-1, 6-3 win over Meagan Flanagan, and Hermiston’s regular No. 2 and No. 3 singles combined for a win at No. 2 doubles. The last time the two squads played Hermiston swept doubles play and Pendleton swept singles play.

Bailey Burns and Savanna Foley found themselves in an unfamiliar spot, playing catch-up on Pendleton No. 1 doubles team Bailey Bixler and Miranda Muller. But the Bulldogs finished strong and won the match 4-6, 6-2, 10-3.

To facilitate Whitesell and Wyant’s move to singles play, the Hermiston boys moved Kevin Hawman and Gavin Drotzmann up to No. 1 doubles where they defeated Micah Wood and Colton Skeen 6-1, 6-1.

“They’ve only played together three times,”?said Hermiston coach Rachel Carter. “They played No. 2 this weekend at Summit and they won both their matches so now we’re giving them a shot at the No. 1 team. It’s turning out really good.”

Then at No. 2 doubles Carter paired Tyler Wadekamper and Pedro Tachiquin. They beat Jeremy Cochrane and Gareth Haug 6-1, 6-1.

“(Wadekamper)?and (Tachiquin) played doubles together ... so I?felt pretty confident putting them back together and they did pretty well,”?Carter said.

All four teams will break from conference play over the weekend as Hermiston’s boys and girls head to Boise, Idaho, for the Capital Invite and Pendleton’s teams go to Bend for tournaments.


Contact Matt Entrup at or (541) 966-0838.


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