Williamson prevails

STANWOOD — It was a match that had all the trappings of a state tournament match: Big crowd. Big expectations. Big forehands.

And Mitch Williamson was feeling nervous.

“Everyone was telling me good luck and there was definitely some pressure,” Williamson said about the lead-up to his

match with Stanwood’s Gergo Muller.

But the Jackson senior shrugged off some early nerves and dispatched Muller 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, handing the Stanwood singles player his first loss of the season and leading the Timberwolves to a 7-0 sweep of the Spartans.

“I think it was the first time in a long time that he had that anxious, nervousness feeling,” Jackson head coach David Hutt said of Williamson. “He was excited, but he was also like ‘What is going to happen today.'”

Williamson, the early favorite to win the Wesco singles title, and Muller, a Hungarian exchange student taking Wesco by surprise, knew very little about each other going into the match. Both were undefeated and neither really had been challenged through their first eight matches. Hutt compared the match to what players encounter at the state tournament, where they often go against opponents they know very little about.

Then there was the hype. Close to 50 people crowded around the No. 1 court at Stanwood High School, many to see the Hungarian exchange student face his first big test.

“You don’t get a crowd like that all year,” Hutt said. “You have people crowded over there by one court, looking and watching. It’s a lot of fun.

“No one comes out to watch tennis.”

Williamson, who admitted after the match that he didn’t know how to play Muller at first, lost the first two games to the big-hitting Muller, including having his service broken in the first game. But Williamson settled down, steadied his nerves and started to climb back into the match. Williamson went back to the basics and won five of the next six games and showed why he’s one of the favorites to win a state singles title.

“I was just trying to focus on keeping the ball in and when I had an opportunity to step in I’d try to hit a winner,” Williamson said.

But Muller clawed back, breaking Williamson’s serve and then holding serve to even the set at 5-5. After splitting the next two games, Williamson took over in the tiebreaker, taking the first four points en route to a 7-3 win in the tiebreaker and a first-set victory.

“I thought Mitch was defensive at first, but once he got used to (Muller’s) power, he responded really well,” Stanwood assistant coach Ron Shanander said.

Muller was his own worst enemy in the first set. A number of unforced errors and failed drop shots helped unravel his chance to take the first set.

“He tried a few silly shots; a few drop shots and they didn’t work,” Shanander said. “Mitch is way too fast for that. They didn’t get over anyway.”

Williamson kept the pressure on in the second set and won the final five games to take the set 6-2.

Hutt said he thought that Williamson’s court coverage was the key to the victory.

“Mitch did a great job with court coverage,” Hutt said. “and Gergo, I’m sure, hasn’t had guys hit some of those balls back that Mitch was getting to. All of a sudden he’s playing a guy who’s hitting those winners back.”

Shanander agreed: “Mitch returned some shots that shouldn’t have been returned.”

Jackson also got big wins from singles players Patrick Cung, Ben Mietzner and Grant Follis, but Hutt was really impressed with his doubles teams, which were an unorthodox mix because of injury and missing players.

“Being able to go out there and perform like this today really made us feel good,” Hutt said.

Shanander said he was thought Eric Saekow was impressive in the defeat to Mietzner. After losing the first set 6-2, Saekow battled in the second set before losing in a tiebreaker 7-1.

“I thought Eric played the best set of the season,” Shanander said.

At Stanwood H.S.

Singles-Mitch Williamson (J) def. Gergo Muller 7-6 (7-3), 6-2; Peter Cung (J) def. Jonathan Wolf 6-4, 6-2; Ben Mietzner (J) def. Eric Saekow 6-2, 7-6 (7-1); Grant Follis (J) def. Riley Swenson 7-5, 6-3. Doubles-James Okubo-Chan (J) def. Frank Medlicott-Sean Dolan 6-0, 6-1; Kim-Bae (J) def. Hyrum Andelin-Sand 6-4, 6-0; Haugen-George (J) def. Kram-Graham 6-4, 6-3. Records–Jackson 8-0 in league, 10-0 overall. Stanwood 6-1, 7-2.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Silvertips add pair in CHL import draft

Everett selects Czechian forward Dominik Rymon with pick 57 and Swiss goalie Tim Metzger 117th overall.

FILE - UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., right, tries to get by Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on March 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. UCLA and Southern California are planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in a seismic change that could lead to another major realignment of college sports. A person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, June 30, 2022, on condition of anonymity because the schools' talks with the Big Ten have not been made public said the schools have taken steps to request an invitation to join the conference. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
UCLA, USC leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The two schools announce they will be exiting the Pac-12 in 2024 in a major blow to the viability of the conference.

Silvertips’ Niko Huuhtanen and Giants’ Jaden Lipinski fight for the puck during the playoff match up against the Vancouver Giants on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips will look to replace Huuhtanen in CHL import draft

The standout forward who scored 37 goals this past season recently signed a professional contract to play in Finland.

Seattle Mariners' Jesse Winker reacts after grounding out against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 1, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Mariners muster just four hits in loss to Athletics

Seattle, missing a number of key pieces on offense, falls to last-place Oakland 3-1.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marte’s big night lifts AquaSox over Emeralds

The top Seattle Mariners prospect homers and drives in four runs in Everett’s 10-6 win.

The roof-top sign for Climate Pledge Arena is shown next to the Space Needle, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, ahead of the NHL hockey Seattle Kraken's home opener Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks in Seattle. The historic angled roof of the former KeyArena was preserved, but everything else inside the venue, which will also host concerts and be the home of the WNBA Seattle Storm basketball team, is brand new. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seattle to host NBA preseason game between Blazers, Clippers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell declined to comment on any recent conversations with NBA officials about expansion to the city.

Evergreen Speedway remains closed due the stay-at-home order while NASCAR will run it's first race since the pandemic began on Sunday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Community roundup: Evans tops podium at Mark Galloway Shootout

Also, EvCC athletes named All-American, Tulalip native signs with MLB organization and more.

Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas (31), wide receiver Cade Johnson (88), and wide receiver Aaron Fuller (13) walk off the field after NFL football practice Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seahawks announce training camp registration date for fans

Fans must register through the team’s website starting Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Rodriguez hits 12th home run, Mariners topple Orioles

Seattle tops Baltimore 9-3 for its seventh win in the past nine games.

Most Read