By Tom Price jr.
The Exeter Monarchs boys tennis team finished second in team competition but found little success individually at the Visalia Invitational Tennis Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday players competed individually and three of Exeter's four singles players won their opening match. The Monarchs No. 1 Nick Sanchez defeated Erick Fishback from Golden West, No. 2 Dan McAlister beat Loren Nikkel of Reedley and No. 3 Peter Nikolauson won by forfeit. Unfortunately the second round saw each of them exit the tournament with losses.
In doubles the No. 1 team of Carson Wileman and Daniel Maldonado defeated Martin Ayala and Steven Bertubal from Hanford in the first round, but much like their singles counterparts they struggled in their second round match losing to the No. 2 seed team of Tyler Sorensen and Vice Castro from Reedley.
In team play on Saturday the Monarchs fell just short of winning their division which consisted of Lemoore, Hanford and Lindsay. Exeter opened with a 6-0 shutout of Lemoore then dropped a 4-2 decision to Hanford. In that game two matches went to tie breaker. Exeter's Maldonado lost in the No. 4 singles match against Conner Conway 8-7 and 7-5 in the tie breaker and the No. 1 doubles match between Exeter's Randy Shandler and Erick Rossner and Hanford's Martin Ayala and David Silva resulted in the same score.
"Two points the other way and we would have a nice little plaque," Exeter coach Jason Welch said. "I think we have a pretty good team, we have got five guys that can compete with anybody, it just depends who is on that day."
The Monarchs finished the team play with a 2-1 record, beating Lindsay 4-2 in their final match.
Welch is in his first year as head coach for the boys team. He coached the girls to a second place finish in the East Sequoia League this year. He says he is excited about the chance to coach the boys and thinks they have an opportunity to win the ESL crown this year.
The Monarchs take the court again today at home against Tulare Union and they will also host Lindsay on Friday, marking the beginning of East Sequoia League play.