By Craig Harper
For the Courier
Opening a rebuilding season against perennial Class 4A boys tennis power Colorado Academy, Evergreen co-coach Bob Greenman wasn’t expecting a victory.
His mantra for a team with just two seniors and three returning varsity players was simple: compete from start to finish. But in Greenman’s eyes, the Cougars — with the exception of new No. 1 singles player Luke Camp — didn’t do that, which was the focus of his disappointment more than the 7-0 loss itself to the Mustangs at Hiwan Golf Club on Aug. 28.
“This was an awfully tough school to start with,’’ Greenman said of Colorado Academy, last year’s third-place team at state. “What happens against a better team like Colorado Academy is the kids step on the court thinking they’re in trouble right off the bat.
“I tried to get across is you could be in trouble today, but why not try to compete on every single point and let it fall where it falls. But I saw some kids give up today.’’
One player whom Greenman believed didn’t back down was Camp, a junior left-hander who played No. 3 doubles last year but won the top singles spot in part because Jacob Saari, who played No. 2 doubles in 2012, will miss the season with mononucleosis.
Camp lost 6-0, 6-1 to Fletcher Kern, CA’s returning No. 1 singles player, but Greenman was impressed with his effort.
“I thought Luke did really good,’’ Greenman said. “Fletcher’s an experienced, veteran tournament player. He’s a tough, tough player, and I thought Luke played every game his hardest and I think every game was competitive.’’
“He’s really good,’’ Camp said of Kern, a junior who lost in the first round at state last year. “I’ve never really played anybody who can just hit a winner off a soft shot. But I felt like I played really good and hung with him on most of the points.’’
“Luke’s a tremendous athlete and I think he’s just beginning to touch the surface of his talent,’’ Greenman said of the second-year player in the program. “Whether he stays with it and works like Fletcher does, that’s the difference.’’
Evergreen is revamping its lineup this year after graduating its top two singles players and No. 1 doubles team and losing three of four doubles players who were first-team all-Jeffco picks and had eligibility (Saari and two others chose not to compete in 2013). The Cougars used three freshmen and two sophomores in their opening-week matches, which included a 5-2 loss to Golden on Aug. 29.