take lead in SWC conference race
By Matt Pawlikowski
Published May 2, 2007
Southwestern Conference Championship is North Olmsted’s to lose,
following the Eagles’ commanding performance at last Saturday’s
conference tournament at Oberlin College.
With only one loss in conference match play, North
Olmsted captured 1/3 of the required points needed to win the title
after taking championships at second and third singles, along with
“I’m very happy, but there are a lot of dual matches
left,” North Olmsted head coach Matt DeMain said. “The kids did
really well today. It looks good right now, but when you have so
many teams so evenly matched, it just depends on the day. Fortunately
it came out in our favor today.”
Brecksville-Broadview Heights finished second with
26 points. Most of those points were earned in the preliminary rounds.
The Bees advanced to championship matches in second singles and
third singles, but lost both. They won third-place matches at first
and second doubles, and fell to fourth place in first singles with
Avon Lake’s Alex Trzeciak’s victory over Jeff Liang.
The Avon Lake Shoremen edged out Westlake for third
place by a single point (25-24). Shut out of the singles championships,
the Shoremen fielded teams in both doubles title matches.
“It came down to a couple of matches here and there,”
Shoremen head coach Rich Mostardi said. “This is tough to take right
now. When it’s this close, I’d rather us have our butts get kicked.
There were a couple of matches that we lost in three sets. Not that
we should’ve won them, but when it adds up it’s tough.
“We have to win out now. If we lose another match,
The Eagles’ Kevin Stanton and Jesse Kummer beat out
Avon Lake’s Travis Crist and Jason Zuberi in three very tough sets,
4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Down 1-0 after the first set, Stanton and Kummer—two
seniors playing varsity tennis for the first time—gutted it out
to pull out the win.
“We just kept playing consistent,” Stanton said. “We
kept trying to find weaknesses and attack them.”
“It’s really exciting,” Kummer said about the conference
race. “Everyone has a loss right now.”
Avon Lake’s Robert Clayton and Scott Stuckey defeated
North Olmsted’s Joe Roeder and Ben Steele in the last title match
to leave the courts Saturday, 6-1, 6-4. The Shoremen team had to
battle in the final set after a determined effort by Roeder and
Steele to get back into the match, but muscled out the victory.
“It was just a matter of putting balls in play,” Stuckey
said. “Right now it’s still about winning every match.”
The day proved to be a tough one for doubles players.
Rain pushed play inside on Oberlin’s four indoor courts. Doubles
teams didn’t play their first matches until around late morning
and early afternoon as the outside courts dried.
“It was alright,” Clayton said. “We’re used to waiting
around. We’re always ready to play tough, no matter what.”
The Shoremen, in addition to Trzeciak’s third at first
singles, scored fourth place points following Adam Wilkinson’s tough
6-4, 6-3 loss to Westlake’s Tim King in third singles. Avon Lake’s
Matt Gross placed fifth with an 8-1 pro-set win over Berea’s Tony
The Westlake Demons, paced by Brad Noel’s championship
at first singles, rounded out the list of top-four teams. All four
have one conference loss.
“You really have to win every first round match, and
that’s something not many teams could not do,” Noel said about the
close team finishes for second-fourth places. “It hurts because
we didn’t do as well. We had our opportunity.”
Though the Demons fell short of their team goals,
Noel’s championship marked a very tough milestone for the senior.
Matched against North Olmtsted’s Kevin Bus, Noel beat Bus 6-1, 6-1
to win the first singles championship. It is his fourth SWC championship.
“I was really looking forward to today,” Noel said.
“It’s a team event and it’s nice that they’ve moved the tournament
to one place so we can see all our teammates play. It was great,
but tired. It was a long day.
“(Winning four titles) wasn’t something I set as a
goal, but I knew I was capable of doing it. It’s great to do something
that few people have done.”
Also scoring for the Demons: Mike Cook placed third
at second singles. Bill Barnes and Brent Anstead finished fourth
in first doubles. David Fleisher and Rakesh Pattel placed fifth
at second doubles.
North Olmsted’s Brad Sinko beat Brecksville’s Andrew
Wene by default after Wene went down with a leg injury in the second
set of their title match. Sinko won the first set 6-3.
“My opponent was good, but fortunately I was able
to come out and play as hard as I could,” Senko said. “Unfortunately
it isn’t the way you want to win, with the other guy going down
with an injury.”
The Eagles’ Alex Kearney beat the Bees’ Alex O’Dell
6-3, 6-2 to win a championship at third singles.
“It feels good,” Kearney said. “I hit the ball hard.
The last time we played each other, I didn’t hit the ball hard enough
and he beat me. I played well today. Overall, it’s an amazing feeling
for all of us. The team came to play.”