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Published: Saturday, 5/29/2004

State tennis: Shaeffer falls in quarters

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Perrysburg s Adam Shaeffer won his first round match, but fell in the quarterfinals after having match point three times. Perrysburg s Adam Shaeffer won his first round match, but fell in the quarterfinals after having match point three times.
MORRISON / BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

COLUMBUS - Perrysburg s Adam Shaeffer finally found out how it feels to win a match at the state tennis tournament.

But it may take a while before the Yellow Jackets senior fully appreciates his opening-round win in the Division I state tennis tournament yesterday at Ohio State s Stickney Tennis Center.

A gut-wrenching three-set defeat in a quarterfinal match in which he stared at match point three times in the second set may dominate his thoughts for a while.

Cincinnati Sycamore s Lance Koetter fought through a slow start and cramping in his left forearm to knock off Shaeffer 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 to advance to the semifinals.

“I was thinking about that a lot in the third set even though I tried not to,” he said. “[Koetter] just came up big in the third set. The shots were just going in for him.”

Meanwhile, James O Connell and Mike O Connell of St. Francis de Sales continued their march toward a possible second straight doubles title.

The O Connell cousins barely broke a sweat during two matches, each of which lasted about a half-hour.

The O Connells opened the morning strong by disposing of Cincinnati Princeton s Randy Lofgren and Felipe Rossetti 6-1, 6-0 before coming back a few hours later and dispatching Canfield s Kevin Kuppler and Matt Waigand 6-0, 6-0 in a quarterfinal match.

“They were very sharp and really focused and that s a good thing,” said St. Francis coach Mark Faber.

The O Connells meet Kings Mills John Allare and Raees Ismail today in a semifinal. Faber expects the O Connells will be challenged more.

“I just think it ll be a good test,” Faber said. “[Allare and Ismail] are probably one of the top two teams other than ourselves. James and Mike will have to come out ready to play.”

Not since St. John s Erick Iskersky won back-to-back state singles titles in 1975-76 has there been a repeat state champion from northwest Ohio. Ottawa Hills Mike Riedmeyer and Jim Ketcham were the last doubles team from northwest Ohio to repeat as state champs, winning in 1974 and 75.

Shaeffer opened the day by defeating Worthington Kilbourne s Nick Newcomb 6-2, 6-1 to give him his first victory at the state tournament in three tries. The decisive win made him the first player from Perrysburg to win a singles match at the state tournament since Bob Wellstein won a state title back in 1997.

“I was just glad to get that first state match under my belt,” Shaeffer said. “I was really nervous to start, but getting that 5-2 lead in the first set gave me a boost of confidence.

“I just played my game and wanted to keep the ball in play until he basically missed. I had some good lobs.”

“He wanted to get to the second round,” Perrysburg coach Al Rava said. “He was pumped up.

“He had a couple of shaky moments, but he just played his game and ended it. The kid [Newcomb] was a good player, but Adam got points when it counted.”

However, Koetter refused to allow Shaeffer to get the single point that would have propelled him on to the semifinals. The Sycamore senior had nearly retired from the quarterfinal after his left forearm locked up on him. The southpaw s arm went completely numb and he had to have a trainer work on it for several minutes.

The O Connells expect tougher competition today.

“We re hitting the ball well,” Mike O Connell said. “We just have to stay focused.”

James agreed, adding: “Tomorrow will definitely be a challenge. Tomorrow s match is the toughest by far.”

In Division II, New Albany s Ross Eichenseer and Nick Koulemos stopped Napoleon s Adam Fausey and Ben Bischoff, 7-5, 6-3 in an opening-round match.

Huron s Phil Conley and Chris Pell lost their respective opening-round singles matches.

Conley lost to Indian Hill s Brian Compton 6-2, 6-0; Pell fell 6-2, 6-3 to Cincinnati Country Day s Chris Herrlinger.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com or 419-724-6302.



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