Thanks to an unfortunate error earlier this summer, the project to resurface the tennis courts at Sand Creek, quite literally, fell through the cracks.
As a result, the Scorpions have been forced to hit the road. They started the first of 11 consecutive away dates Wednesday strong with a 6-1 win at Mitchell.
"I'm a senior, and I want to play at home for my last year," said Nathan Ackley, part of Sand Creek's top doubles team that, with Timothy Swanson, beat Mitchell's John Lieberman and Jose Brown, 6-2, 6-3. "So I'm kind of disappointed. We have friends that want to support us, but we won't be there much."
Mitchell has quite a different problem. They had plenty of friends in attendance Wednesday to lend support. But with just six players on the court, the Marauders gave up three matches - No. 3 singles, as well as the Nos. 3 and 4 doubles matches - to default before the first ball was put in play.
"That's not giving us much of a chance," senior Chyra Larkin said. "I'm trying to get some people to play tennis. It's real fun. A lot of people who weren't so sure are out there having a lot of fun now. I just want to have a full team with all the tournaments and regionals coming up."
Larkin, playing his third season at No. 1 singles, captured the Marauders' lone win, a 6-4, 6-2 victory over junior Logan Quigley. He nearly lost a 5-2 lead in the first set but regrouped and served out the set, then won four straight games in the second set after falling behind 1-0.
"I was a little laid-back in the first set and lost my focus a little," Larkin said. "I got it back in the second. It's always good to keep your focus. I did that and just got the job done. Tennis is a mental game as much as it's physical."
Larkin, besides refocusing, also changed his strategy on serve by paying careful attention to his opponent.
Seeing several unforced errors on Quigley's backhand, Larkin made it his first priority to expose that weakness the best he could.
"My first serve wasn't going so well," Larkin said. "On my second serve, I wanted to focus on his backhand. That way, I knew he wouldn't be putting me under a lot of pressure."
Sand Creek continues its road voyage this weekend at the Kadet Invitational at Air Academy. The Scorpions hope to salvage part of a home season, targeting a Sept. 18 dual with Cheyenne Mountain, followed by the season finale Sept. 25 against Air Academy, to finally play in front of their home fans.
"While I am disappointed, it's OK. I like traveling," Ackley said. "It's more fun and you get to see lots of different schools you haven't seen yet."