Philomath High’s Nick Stucki and Dylan Bell are looking for a good match on the tennis court.
Pairing up for the first time this season as doubles partners, the pair has breezed to a 5-0 record without dropping a single set. Stucki and Bell took care of business again Tuesday against their latest victims, 6-1, 6-1, during a home match against Woodburn.
“We’re thinking that Cascade’s going to be the most competitive match that we’re going to have all year and we’re looking forward to that on Friday,” said Stucki, a senior who is enjoying a final season with the Warriors. “It’s honestly so much fun. It’s so good to be back out here and hitting balls with the boys.”
Philomath’s boys won the match, 7-1.
Stucki and Bell appear to complement each other when it comes to what they bring to the court. Stucki’s aggressive at the net, but struggles a bit with his serve. Bell, meanwhile, has a blistering serve but he’s hesitant at the net.
Bell, a junior, said he only lost two points on double faults against the Woodburn pair and he believes they weren’t able to get back any of his serves.
“I’m not as confident at the net as I could be — just the consistency of willing to get those balls that are maybe a little bit out of reach but you’re still capable of getting and hitting a good shot back in,” Bell said about an area where he needs work. “It’s really nice playing together, it works well.”
Bell has worked hard to develop that strong serve.
“We just have baskets of balls at our house, so we come down to the courts and hit baskets upon baskets,” he said, adding how nice it is to now have tennis courts right here in town.
Stucki, who has played doubles throughout his high school career, calls Bell a good partner.
“Up at the net, for sure, that’s where I’m most comfortable,” Stucki said when asked about his strongest part of the game. “Just hit it at them as hard as I can.”
He admits he needs to work on his serve, particularly his second serve.
“My first serve was pretty good today but it’s that second serve that gets me,” he said.
Both players come from families with tennis in their DNA. Stucki said he’s been playing since middle school with his brothers.
Bell played singles as a freshman in 2019 and then the 2020 season was cancelled because of COVID. He credits his family background as a factor in helping him make the transition to doubles.
“Going from singles to doubles wasn’t that hard for me,” Bell said. “My family plays tennis and there’s four of us so we play a lot of doubles just for fun, so I’m pretty used to both.”
Bell’s been hitting balls around on a tennis court for most of his life.
“I can remember when I was really little with just the little pop-up nets playing at Timberhill with foam balls,” he said.
Bell said playing doubles involves a little less stress while in battle.
“It’s definitely less of a head game,” he said. “If you’re having a bad day, as long as the other partner’s not having a bad day at the same time, you’re able to pick each other up and that’s what I like a lot more about doubles than singles.”
The pair hopes that a 4A state tennis tournament will be organized during the season’s culminating week. If it happens, Stucki and Bell expect to be in contention for the top prize.
“Winning state is the goal,” Stucki said. “We haven’t come across any competition so far, so it’s looking pretty good.”
Elsewhere against Woodburn, No. 1 singles player Dawson Beckstead had a nice victory over Jonathon Swenson, 6-3, 6-4. Beckstead rebounded after losing for the first time last week and is now 5-1 on the season. Teddy Benbow at No. 3 singles and Tomas Harris at No. 4 were both straight-set winners as well.
Andrew Leonard dropped a match for the first time this season at No. 2 singles.
In addition to Stucki and Bell, Philomath swept the other three doubles matches. Judah Bacho and Mark Grimmer, Noah Curtis and Gradin Fairbanks, and Jace Barrett and Ian Alba all won in straight sets.
Philomath will see its next action on Thursday at Stayton and Friday’s match against Cascade will be on the road. Both of those matches have 4 p.m. start times.
Girls: Philomath 6, Woodburn 2
Playing on the road, the PHS girls split the four singles matches and swept doubles for the team victory. Freshman Bailey Bell continues to overwhelm opponents with her latest 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 1 singles. Junior K Bacho won a thriller at No. 2 singles, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. Senior Lily Schell played singles for the first time this season and lost a heartbreaker in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 10-5.
In doubles action, Atira Fairbanks and Chloe Jurva dominated their opponents, 6-1, 6-0. Sierra Johnson and Noel Lundeen at No. 2, Daniella Carlisle and Lorelei Schell at No. 3, and Nadia Durski and Elise Reese at No. 4 were all winners.
Among those, the most exciting doubles match occurred in Carlisle and Schell’s 7-5, 6-7, 10-5 victory.
PHS will play at home Thursday against Stayton and Friday against Cascade with both of those starting at 4 p.m.
Philomath 7, Woodburn 1
Tuesday, April 27, at Philomath HS
|No. 1: Dawson Beckstead, PHS, def. Jonathon Swenson, 6-3, 6-4|
|No. 2: Opponent, WHS, def. Andrew Leonard, 7-6, 6-1|
|No. 3: Teddy Benbow, PHS, def. Opponent, 7-6, 6-0|
|No. 4: Tomas Harris, PHS, def. Opponent, 6-0, 6-1|
|No. 1: Dylan Bell/Nick Stucki, PHS, def. Opponent, 6-1, 6-1|
|No. 2: Judah Bacho/Mark Grimmer, PHS, def. Opponent, 6-2, 6-1|
|No. 3: Noah Curtis/Gradin Fairbanks, PHS, def. Opponent, 7-6, 6-4|
|No. 4: Jace Barrett/Ian Alba, PHS, def. Opponent, 6-0, 6-2|
Philomath 6, Woodburn 2
Tuesday, April 27, at Woodburn HS
|No. 1: Bailey Bell, PHS, def. Yesenia Lopez, 6-0, 6-0|
|No. 2: K Bacho, PHS, def. Jazmin Sanchez, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8|
|No. 3: Stephanie Perez, WHS, def. Lily Schell, 6-3, 4-6, 10-5|
|No. 4: Sarai Torres, WHS, def. Megan Reese, 6-0, 6-0|
|No. 1: Atira Fairbanks/Chloe Jurva, PHS, def. Karina Zamora/Cassidy Garibaldo, 6-1, 6-0|
|No. 2: Sierra Johnson/Noel Lundeen, PHS, def. Yaire Solano/Tonalli Carlos, 6-2, 6-0|
|No. 3: Daniella Carlisle/Lorelei Schell, PHS, def. Christa Manetti/Zoey Benavidez, 7-5, 6-7, 10-5|
|No. 4: Nadia Durski/Elise Reese, PHS, def. Karla Dominguez/Denise Garcia, 6-4, 6-2|