AVON LAKE — It was clear Saturday that Avon Lake was determined to take back the Lorain County Athletic Administrators Association tennis tournament title from rival Avon.
The Shoremen and Eagles squared off in all five finals with Avon Lake taking first and second singles and first doubles to clinch the team championship.
“It’s really exciting for us,” said Avon Lake assistant coach Dan Mitoff, who was filling in for coach Jeremy Kirsch, who was attending his mother-in-law’s funeral.
“We lost the dual match 3-2 earlier, so to be able to turn that around and pick up a court that we lost earlier is pretty nice.”
The Shoremen and Eagles were the top two seeds in three of the five brackets.
The biggest swing for Avon Lake came at first doubles where unseeded Dino Petromica and Kristof Nieschwitz took out the second-seeded team of Audrey McConihe and Devan Harmych from Amherst 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals.
They then got revenge against the Eagles’ top-seeded team of Aaron Austinson and Trevor Barrett, which beat them in the dual match, by a 6-3, 6-3 score in the final.
Avon Lake also got a strong effort from Kenny Davis at third singles. The unseeded sophomore picked up his first varsity win Friday with a 6-7, 6-3, 10-3 decision over Vermilion’s Kyle Billings. (The tournament plays a super tiebreaker to 10 instead of a third set.)
He carried that momentum into the semifinals, upsetting second-seeded Luke Coward of Elyria 6-0, 6-1 before falling to Avon’s Mathias Hilton 6-4, 6-0 in the final.
“His win in the first round was probably the most important one for us team score-wise,” Mitoff said of Davis. “He had a close three-set match and had he lost that we wouldn’t have won the team title. Even though he finished second overall, that first-round win was key.”
Avon Lake also won the top two singles championships behind top seeds Spencer Gray and Michael Mandel.
Mandel defeated North Ridgeville’s Alex Von Stuenzer 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals and second-seeded Jack Hindman 6-0, 6-1 in the championship to take the second singles title. Hindman had taken Mandel to three sets in their previous match a few weeks back.
“I’ve been working really hard in the season,” Mandel said. “Practice has been hard, but it’s fun to grind it out. I struggled in our first match. I went through multiple rackets, I wasn’t able to finish my points and today my coach told me to close in on the net a little bit more. It pushed him to hit more passes and he hit more balls long. When he hit it short I was able to put it away.”
Gray downed Vermilion’s Jack Rini without dropping a game and then defeated Avon’s Matt LeHoty, the second seed, 6-2, 6-3 in the final.
Gray was up a break 3-2 and serving in the first set when LeHoty made a strong challenge. Gray had to survive a number of deuce points before ending a long rally on a forehand winner, then using a big serve to close out the game. He took the next to games to close out the set.
“We played earlier in the season and he’s pretty consistent,” Gray said of LeHoty. “It’s tough to play someone who plays exactly like you. I came to the net more than I usually do. I’m not usually a net person, but with him you have to come in and finish the point off instead of playing 30-shot rallies.”
Championship: Spencer Gray (Avon Lake) def. Matt LeHoty (Avon) 6-2, 6-3. Semifinals: Gray def. Jack Rini (Vermilion) 6-0, 6-0; LeHoty def. Reid Opel (Amherst) 6-2, 6-4.
Championship: Michael Mandel (Avon Lake) def. Jack Hindman (Avon) 6-0, 6-1. Semifinals: Mandel def. Alex Von Stuenzer (North Ridgeville) 6-0, 6-2; Hindman def. Forest Hampton (Amherst) 6-0, 6-0.
Championship: Mathias Hilton (Avon) def. Kenny Davis (Avon Lake) 6-4, 6-0. Semifinals: Hilton def. Brandon Bratovich (Amherst) 6-0, 6-2; Davis def. Luke Coward (Elyria) 6-0, 6-1.
Championship: Dino Petromica/Kristof Nieschwitz (Avon Lake) def. Aaron Austinson/Trevor Barrett (Avon) 6-2, 6-3. Semifinals: Austinson/Barrett def. Luke Diedrick/Justin Craigo (Elyria) 6-0, 6-0; Petromica/Nieschwitz def. Audrey McConihe/Devan Harmych (Amherst) 6-2, 6-2.
Championship: Jeremy Wiersch/Nick Janos (Avon) def. Matthew Davis/Irwin Deng (Avon Lake) 7-5, 6-3. Semifinals: Wiersch/Janos def. Joe Grau/Danny Dejesus (North Ridgeville) 6-4, 6-0; Davis/Deng def. Charles Gullett/Ashley Harmon (Elyria) 6-1, 6-0.