Monday, March 6, 2017

Doubles Point Puts Broncos in Boys Final Versus Patriots; Bengals Win Deciding Match to Advance to Girls Final Against Stingrays at USTA National Spring Team Championships

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Mobile, AL--

The doubles point is considered significant in a Division I college dual match, setting the tone and, in retrospect, providing a deciding point in a close match. Due to rain in the forecast for Tuesday at the USTA National Spring Team Championships, two rounds of singles matches were played Monday, and with the subsequently juggled schedule, the doubles were played last in the boys semifinals.  The doubles point didn’t matter to the Patriots, who clinched their 4-3 win over the Rams prior to the doubles, but the Falcons and the Broncos split their singles matches, meaning the doubles point would decide who played in the finals.

Down 3-2 in singles, the Falcons’ Beau Pelletier ensured the doubles would matter, taking a 7-6(2), 7-6(4) win over the Broncos’ John Speicher at the 18s line 1. It was a grueling two and a half hour match, made all the more tense and challenging by gusty winds, but after a short rest, both players were back on the court for the deciding doubles.

Prospects appeared bright for the Falcons when they took a 4-0 lead in the 14s and were on serve in the 16s and 18s, but even the no-ad, one-set doubles format provided enough room for a Bronco comeback. Connor Krug and Isaac Smith somehow managed to win six games in a row from Falcons Chris Fok and Noah Gampel, and improbably were the first team to finish.  By that time, Speicher and Andrew Rogers had gotten a break at No. 1 over Pelletier and Alexander Exsted, but could not close out the match, giving the Falcons new life.  But Broncos 16s Harry Cacciatore and Cole Groetsch finished the job, breaking Evin McDonald and Alexander Kiefer to take the 6-4 decision and put their team in the final.

Broncos coach Bryan Minton said he was confident in his doubles teams, but well aware of the potential for the unexpected.

“I felt like we had the better doubles teams and I was excited about that,” said Minton, who is coaching in the tournament for the first time. “But obviously, you never know. It’s a six-game set, it’s no ad, and things could not go your way pretty quickly. We got down 4-0 in a heartbeat in our 14s, and I was nervous about that. I just kept telling the boys, take one point at a time, play your best shots, and they found a way to come back. So I had confidence, but yeah, those can go quickly the other way with just a little momentum.”

Minton, who is a partner at the MW Tennis Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, said he was excited to be invited to coach in the event.

“I’ve done zonals before, but it was a long time ago,” said Minton, who coached Shelby Rogers earlier in her career. “I’ve been doing more and more things with USTA Player Development camps, so I got an invitation to be a coach here and I jumped on it. I love this kind of atmosphere, it’s a blast. I always have a great time with the kids who end up on my teams. And one of my [academy] girls is here, so I was excited to get a chance to watch her as well.”

The Patriots, who are coached by Matthew Boughton, got wins from Jake Krug at the 14s line 2, Randy Cory at the 18s line 2, Nicolas Garcia at the 16s line 2, with Kevin Zhu clinching at the 18s line 1.  The final will feature twins Jake and Connor Krug, but with Connor at 14s line 1 and Jake at 14s line 2 in singles, only the doubles will have them going head-to-head.

The girls semifinals, with the doubles played first, finished under the lights of the Mobile Tennis Center, with both the Stingrays and the Bengals posting 4-3 victories.  Although all six girls matches played in the medallion bracket ended with 4-3 scores, not all came down to the last match on, with several clinched prior to the completion of all singles matches.

That was the case for the Stingrays, who led 3-2 before Rebecca Lynn clinched their place in the final with a 6-2, 6-2 win over the Angels’ Nore Ann Heinitz at the 14s line 2.  The Stingrays had won two of three matches to take the doubles point, with all three doubles matches going to a tiebreaker.  Kolie Allen and Catherine Gulihur picked up the other two singles points for the Stingrays, at the 18s lines 1 and 2. The Stingrays coach Chris Kwon will face fellow tournament rookie Seth Walrath of the Bengals, who did experience the stress of being on the sidelines of a last match on.

The Bengals had swept the doubles and got wins from Daniella Benabraham at the 14s line 2 and Carly Briggs at the 16s line 1, after the Sharks had gotten their first point from Malaika Rapolu at the 16s line 2. The Sharks the swept the 18s with McCartney Kessler winning at line 1 and Sophia Patel at line 2, both in three sets, with Patel’s win pulling the Sharks even. Calissa Dellabarca had just forced a third set in her match with Mary Grace Armistead at the 14s line 1, giving the Sharks hope, but Armistead came through with a hard-fought 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 victory.

“She brought a lot of energy in that third set,” said Walrath, who works in Junior Development at the USTA Middle States section. “She lost energy in the second, but in the third, she got pumped up again and brought herself back to the level she had played at earlier. She stayed super positive.”

In his first experience with the National Team event, Walrath was impressed with how quickly his team came together.

“They jelled within the first hour,” Walrath said, showing off his tiger-striped ribbon tied around his wrist. “I coached Intersectionals in the 16s and at other national tournaments, but I hadn’t coached this tournament, so I didn’t know what to expect. But the format’s amazing, and as I said, we really had a lot of team chemistry and that goes a long way. You could see them all rooting for each other.”

The weather forecast for Tuesday currently shows a chance of rain all day, with the percentages highest in the late afternoon. If it holds off, both the doubles and singles will be played on Tuesday, but if it does not, the tournament will end as previously announced on Wednesday.

Results from all second round and third round matches can be found at the TennisLink site.


ITA Board Member.... said...

I'm concerned AND confused about a David Roditi quote (TCU Men's Coach). Disappointing from an ITA Board Member as well.

Cameron Norrie made one of the best players in college look like an amateur. (Isn't EVERYONE in college an "Amateur"). Also very demeaning to his opponent, lack of professionalism and doesn't paint a positive picture of all the coaches/players he represents as a Board Member.

he then says...

I am disappointed because I hate playing at home (OUCH) and being at a disadvantage because of our rules and because of our type of facility. (bigger OUCH). Well David, you are on the ITA Board so it's the ITA's fault of those rules?

J Buffett said...


Put everything in context...do not cherry pick the quotes...this is what Coach Roditi said: "Head Coach David Roditi
“Today was a really good match and there was some really good tennis played. Obviously I am disappointed because I hate playing at home and being at a disadvantage because of our rules and because of our type of facility. We had to play indoors on some of the fastest courts against guys that are much better indoors then they are outside. I am frustrated but I do not want to take anything away from Wake Forest who is a very good team. They are one of the best teams and the coach has done a great job.

“I am proud of the way our guys played today and how we competed. There were some really bright spots there. Cameron Norrie made one of the best players in college look like an amateur. Jerry Lopez had a great win and played physical like he should be playing. (Alex) Rybakov got a nice revenge on a very good player. We just came up a little short at No. 3 and Guillermo (Nu├▒ez) gave it everything he had. They served very well today and got so many free points on their serve. I hope we play that team outdoors later in the year. There is nothing we can do about it right now but learn from it and continue to get better and get healthier. At some point we will have a full lineup out there and be able to compete with these top teams. I really appreciate all the people who came out. It was a great atmosphere and a lot of fun and we really appreciate all the support.”

Most people involved....even Coach Bresky understood what David was saying.....move on....ITA Board Member....work on problems at hand...you have several...all the best.....good luck college tennis

ITA Board Member.... said...

I didn't misquote David and I'm sure Coach Bresky knew what he was saying but David also represents the entire college community. Those are his words, not mine. Most of his quotes were classy and honorable but there were some, as an ITA Board member and a Top College coach, that were VERY disrespectful to his opponent and to college tennis.

If you quote it, If the words are in print, you absolutely can analyze it. Welcome to the real world, Welcome to leading a successful program. He just needs to choose his words more carefully. That wasn't his first interview, he knows better.

I'm moving on....

Wake Fan said...

@J Buffett, what makes you think that Coach Bresky "understood what David was saying?"

How do you know that Bresky is not infuriated that Roditi made lame excuses and also trashed him and his top player, Petros Chrysochos, by stating that Norrie made him look like an amateur?

Just Saying said...

ITA Board member, Have you been following Norrie's schedule and results since the end of last season? He essentially is a professional with free housing and coaching. Look at how many pro tournaments he's played. In May, Norrie will likely have the option of playing the NCAAs or Roland Garros, since he may be a direct entry into the Qualies based on his ranking. When was the last time a college player had to make that decision? I can see where the "amateurish" comment is cocky and unnecessary, but nonetheless true

Ft. Worth resident… said...

Just Saying

Norrie's level of tennis is one of the best in the country and is one of the best players in the country. I commend and respect him for coming back to school with his strong results in the pro tournaments he has played. He has the ability to deliver woodshed beatings to anyone in college at any given time, which he did against Wake Forest.

You ask a great question of college players with decent pro rankings to come back to college. Without a doubt, no one will ever beat John McEnroe's #19 in the world while he was at Stanford. The #1 Women's player from Ohio State is in the WTA #300s and returned to school as she could have been ability to be inside #200 by now. (my opinion).

I hope Norrie does choose to play Roland Garros instead of NCAA's because winning the NCAA singles title will do nothing for him (being a non-American citizen) or his career except a couple headlines in the local paper and a banner at his school. He should begin is full-time pro career at end of team season.

Thank you for your post and seeing both sides of aisle.

Wolf B. said...

ITA Board Member, must be TR's new community outreach protocol for a board member to vent his or her thoughts on a public blog...try keeping it in house...more class.
Coach Roditi was explaining how Norrie made the match look easy...that's all. Don't read too much into his interview . By the way..CNN is always hiring people with a talent of manufacturing news.

To the Trump Supporter said...

@Wolf B., YOU are clearly the one who has the problem with facts, logic and class. Roditi’s claim that his player Norrie made Wake Forest player, Petros Chrysochos, “look like an amateur” was an unnecessary personal slam on Chryslochos and was a LOT more than merely saying that Norrie made the match look easy. Did you really think that his comment showed class?

Related to this, your gratuitous and baseless attack on CNN for manufacturing news -- rather than Fox News which was literally founded and ran by a Roger Ailes a Republican operative -- is revealing. It’s a clear indication that you support and voted for the Predator in Chief, and so that says a lot about your judgment. You probably think that Trump also never does or says anything wrong and that people are "too politically correct."