Homestead leads North Shore onslaught to state tennis

June 2, 2009

Earning six seeds in the process, the North Shore Conference will be well-represented in this week's WIAA State Individual Boys Tennis Tournament at Nielsen Stadium in Madison.

Homestead will top the list, as the Highlanders won five flights en route to dominating the Oshkosh North Sectional on May 28. They will advance fifth-seed Alex Jesse (22-5) and Alex Mattson (18-8) in singles as well as three doubles teams, including the second-seeded duo of Cameron Mikkelson and Connor Peck (25-2), the fifth-seeded Bryce Toburen and Jake Bodner (23-2) and David Stockbridge and Justin Kirtley (23-3).

In addition, the Highlanders also claimed a berth in the state team tournament back at Nielsen on June 12 and 13. They lost in the quarterfinals last season to eventual runner-up Madison East.

"It was a very good day with very competitive matches and excellent quality doubles play," Highlander coach Jackie Egelhoff said. "There were quality players on each team. Hard, tough players who could cause you trouble if you let them."

Bay, Nicolet send players, too

The Whitefish Bay and Nicolet teams know all about tough, quality players, as both the Blue Dukes and the Knights had their fill of defending state champion Marquette, which swept all seven flights to win Nicolet's own sectional May 28.

"It went about as well as expected," said Bay coach Phil Kelbe. "It was pretty clear in singles - we advanced everyone to the finals and both Jack (Larsen) and Sam (Lillie) played very well."

The Blue Dukes will send the fourth-seeded Larsen (22-4) and the 16th-seeded Lillie (25-3) in singles as well as the doubles team of Graham Downey and Jack Krugler (12-8). Larsen was fifth individually at state last season as a freshman.

Nicolet survived a last-second change in its first doubles team as Quinn Ellsworth replaced Gard Pecor (personal reasons) in the pairing with Trevor Katzban (18-7 overall) and still advanced. In addition, the Knights advanced 14th-seeded David Yarmulnik (18-9) as well as Jonathan Lopez (18-9) in singles.

"This was a good building block of a meet," Knights coach Tim Koppa said. "I think it'll help make the kids more hungry."

Homestead scored 50 points in easily winning the 15-team sectional. Winning flights were Jesse, Sean Mackman (21-5) and Dillon Kelly (23-3) in singles and the doubles teams of Toburen and Bodner and Stockbridge and Kirtley.

Long match may have hurt duo

Mikkelson and Peck are seeded behind only the West Bend East duo of Adam Benjamin and Joe Gambucci (19-1). The East duo defeated the Highlanders pair in three sets in the first doubles finals.

"What may have hurt our guys is that they were coming off a three-set semifinal (against a Neenah pair)," Egelhoff said. "There was some serious excitement in that final."

At Nicolet, Bay edged the Knights, 39-38, for the runner-up spot in the Nicolet sectional as Blue Dukes singles players Larsen, Lillie, Ben Foran (22-4) and Eli Hayes (16-5) all earned seconds, while the Knights doubles teams of Ellsworth and Katzban, Jacob Levey and Richard Kim (8-4) and Ethan Taxman and David Gorodetsky (9-2) all did the same.

Kelbe was pleased with Lillie's effort against former Marquette state champ Nelson Vick in the final of two singles (6-2, 7-6); while Koppa was happy with the showing of Taxman and Gorodetsky against the 27-0 Marquette duo of Mac Mulcahy and Jack Porritt (6-3, 4-6, 6-1).

Trips to Madison

Area netters compete in WIAA sectional

WHAT: WIAA State Individual Tennis Tournament at Nielsen Stadium in Madison

WHEN: Preliminaries start at 2 p.m. today with play resuming Friday through the quarterfinals. Semifinals, finals and consolation play will take place starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

NOTE: Construction on University Avenue and Campus Drive in Madison has made travel difficult in the University of Wisconsin campus area. Add 30 minutes travel time to get to Nielsen.

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