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Published: Wednesday, 5/14/2008

Jorgensen win helps St. John's stay on top in city tennis

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
St. John's freshman Ryan Jorgensen blasts a forehand at Waite's Jeff Brown in the City League No. 1 singles title match. St. John's freshman Ryan Jorgensen blasts a forehand at Waite's Jeff Brown in the City League No. 1 singles title match.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

St. John's Jesuit, winners of the last four City League tennis tournaments and overall championships, made it five straight in each category yesterday evening at Rolf Park.

In fact, the Titans swept all five league title matches for the fourth consecutive year.

St. John's freshman Ryan Jorgensen knocked off Waite senior Jeff Brown 6-1, 6-4 to win at No. 1 singles.

Jorgensen, who lost to Brown during the regular season, played steady and unyielding to come away with the biggest win of his first season as Titan.

"It feels pretty good because I lost to him the last time we played and it feels good to win league as a freshman," Jorgensen said shortly after his teammates congratulated him on his victory. "I just played more aggressive this time and went to the net.

"I figured out what I needed to do, which was attack him."

Based upon points accrued from league dual matches and the tournament, the Titans tallied 50 points to claim the league championship. St. Francis de Sales, which was the last team to win the league championship before the Titans' recent reign, finished runner-up with 41 points. Clay was third with 35, followed by Central Cactolic at 32, Waite 26, Bowsher 19, Start 13, Whitmer 11, Rogers and Scott 3, and Libbey 2.

"It's always great to win," St. John's coach Jim Davis said. "It never gets old.

"The players have really worked hard. They've gotten up to practice at 7 a.m. and this makes it all worthwhile."

St. John's senior Eric North, who played doubles last spring, won the No. 2 singles championship by defeating St. Francis' Casey O'Connell 6-1, 6-2. Devon Sbrocchi, a sophomore, completed the Titans' championship singles sweep by defeating St. Francis' Andrew Flis 6-0, 6-2.

In doubles, Titans Jacob Kuhn and Steve Smith won at No. 1, 6-2, 6-2 over St. Francis' Kevin Blank and John Findlay. Connor Majdalani and Josef Pontasch posted a 6-2, 6-4 victory over St. Francis' Jake Lenz and John Pike at No. 2 doubles .

"There's nothing I've always liked more than to see the team win," North said.

With the loss of several key contributors from last season's Titans team to graduation, Davis counted on a few new faces to step in and respond. Jorgensen, who showed enough talent early in the season to win the No. 1 singles spot, stood at the forefront of the St. John's newcomers. He spoiled Brown's opportunity to become the first City League player not from a private or parochial school to win the No. 1 singles title since 1977.

"I think R.J. did well and dictated play a lot better in this match," Davis said of Jorgensen's play against Brown. "He got ahead early."

The Waite senior credited his opponent for a strong performance.

"I was nervous," Brown said. "It felt a lot slower than the first time we played.

"Different conditions playing in the city championship compared to the first match. It was much bigger. The cameras made me a little nervous. The kid played a tremendous match."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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