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Jake Farne knew he could trust his teammate years prior to their suspenseful victory Friday.

Farne thought back to when he was a freshman at Bozeman. He missed an overhead shot, which would have resulted in a point for his opponent. But his doubles partner, Ayden Schonhoff, was right behind him and lobbed it back. The other team missed on their following opportunity. That, Farne said, proved Schonhoff had his back.

That was also evident Friday. Schonhoff and Farne, now playing for Gallatin, won a No. 1 boys doubles match against Helena with a third-set tiebreaker 6-2, 3-6 (10-6). Both noted afterward how important their chemistry and positive attitudes have been — both for that victory and the entirety of the season.

“It’s unbelievable,” Farne said. “It helps so much because if I get down or he gets down, we know each other so well we can pick each other back up. I think (Friday) just brought us closer together.”

The Raptors boys lost to Helena 5-3 while the Gallatin girls fell to Helena 7-1 on Friday. Other results from the day were not immediately available.

Raptors head coach Colter Curey believed his team had “a couple really solid wins” to start Friday. He’s already noticed a great deal of improvement in the program’s first season on a weekly basis. It shows with every match.

“They’re really coming together as a team, which is good to see,” Curey said. “We have a really young team, but they’re learning a ton really quickly.”

Schonhoff and Farne have been critical to the team dynamic so far, Curey added.

Both players moved to Bozeman around the time of their freshman years. Schonhoff was from New York and Farne from Colorado. They tried playing tennis together and felt confident in their skills in little time.

Schonhoff added tennis allowed him to adapt to a new place. He was happy he didn’t feel alone.

After ample time playing and practicing together, the duo eventually built up chemistry. Seeing each other every day during the season, they became more comfortable with each other.

Curey believes rapport between teammates is arguably as important as skill. Effective communication can set them ahead of several other doubles opponents.

“Having that chemistry makes a huge difference,” Curey said. “They’re just a great team. … They just work really well at the net.”

A year ago, Schonhoff and Farne didn’t play their last season at Bozeman together, as it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Schonhoff said it was “heartbreaking.” Farne said they were “honestly really sad.”

Yet they were determined to keep their skills sharp. They continued to practice through the offseason.

In reflection, they both believe that time was important. They noted improvement in their technique and power, especially with their serving.

Curey believes that dedication makes them role models for the young Gallatin squad.

“They set a great example, and they set great attitudes too,” Curey said. “They’re the nicest kids you’ll ever meet too, which is what I’m more proud about them for than anything is just their demeanor and how they treat others, which is great.”

Both Schonhoff and Farne, who are juniors, are team captains. Curey said both have helped the Raptors develop by sharing their knowledge of the game and encouraging their peers during matches.

“I try to use my experience to help people,” Schonhoff said, “because a lot of kids are new, so they don’t understand as much that it really is a mental game a lot of times. So I pick them up if they’re feeling down. During practice, I try to lead by example.”

Their emphasis on optimism proved to be important for Schonhoff and Farne on Friday. Both felt they didn’t play as well as they wanted to during the second set as they became tired and lost focus. Going into the tiebreaker, though, they were convinced they had to win.

They picked up their energy. They made sure they stepped into their shots and illustrated confidence on serves. They became more aggressive.

They also made sure they encouraged each other.

“We started to crumble because we got too comfortable,” Schonhoff said. “But when the points really mattered, we turned it on and hit good shots when we needed to.”

Following the victory on Friday morning, Farne was already looking forward to the next match. He reiterated relying on chemistry would continue to remain an important aspect.

“Obviously to stay positive,” he said with a smile when asked about his goal for the season. “And then we’ll try to make it to state.”

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Colton Pool can be reached at or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.

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