All season long, both Bellarmine Prep and Sumner boys tennis teams have circled their meeting as what would be their defining match of the season.
With both teams coming in undefeated and a two-game lead over their next league opponents, the 4A South Puget Sound League championship was basically up for grabs at Sumner High School. It was supposed to be a tooth-and-nail match between the league’s top programs.
And it was just that with Sumner trying to claim their third league title in four years, and Bellarmine attempting to capture their first title since claiming the Narrows League (2014) two years ago.
So of course it all came down to the final match of the afternoon.
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“We’re pretty proud. We played pretty well, and it was exciting for both of us,” said Reid Manke about winning the final match and locking up the league title.
“We were just on it today I guess. We played really well,” Kyle Manke said.
Bellarmine Prep (13-0, 7-0 league) twins Kyle and Reid Manke calmly set aside the team of Gabe Smith and PJ Boogard (6-1, 6-2) to claim the No. 3 doubles match, giving the Lions a 3-2 win and essentially locking up their first 4A SPSL league championship.
“They know each other better than anyone, and they both are calm when they play together,” Bellarmine coach Dick Snyder said.
If the Lions win one of their next two matches against Graham-Kapowsin (Oct. 6) or Curtis (Oct. 10), Bellarmine Prep will lock up sole possession of the SPSL championship.
Sumner, who had won the 3A SPSL (2015) title last season and the 2A SPSL in 2013, will have to win out and hope for help from either G-K or Curtis to claim a share of the title.
“I was hoping he would match up his top guy (Zaylan Jacobsen) against Kane, but you have to do what you think is best for your chances to win the league title,” Snyder said.
Instead of matching both teams top players against each other, Sumner (9-1, 5-1) coach Chris Heacox decided to go the doubles route and switched up the Spartan line up.
Heacox switched Zaylan Jacobsen from singles to Sumner’s No. 1 doubles, partnering with Kyle Vanhort. The move worked out as both claimed the match 6-4, 6-2, putting Sumner in a 1-1 tie after two matches.
“No. 1 doubles is a big win. It kind of shifts the momentum for the other doubles teams,” Jacobsen said. “They’re looking at our court, and getting excited because they know they can win their matches. And get the league title too.”
Sumner gained the momentum after the No. 2 doubles match, when Richard Mark and Marcus Peterson edged out the Bellarmine team of Luke Bloemers and Millan Sunduram (6-4, 6-4), giving the Spartans a short 2-1 lead.
Kane Vu continued his undefeated season for Bellarmine as the junior took a straight set sweep (6-0, 6-0) of Collin Feely to capture the No. 1 singles match.
“I’ve worked pretty hard for this,” Vu said. “I just play the best I can whenever I can. If I lose, I just really care about our team winning.”
Bellarmine swept both singles matches with Bennett Morrision outlasting Sumner’s Johnathan Guglieimitti (6-4, 6-2), forcing the league title to rest on the final match of the afternoon.
A Match that belonged to Kyle and Reid Manke
“I tayed up late at night trying to figure out the right match ups. Looking back, maybe I should have Zaylan to a singles match, try to give their guy a run for it and maybe take one of the singles matches,” Sumner coach Chris Heacox said. “But there’s a lot of tennis left. The guys are bummed for sure, but now it’s about getting as many guys as we can into the post-season.”