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Published: Thursday, 4/1/2010

Titans feeling optimistic on tennis courts

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The outlook for the St. John's Jesuit tennis team is extremely high.

The roster is stocked with as much talent as it has had during Jim Davis' coaching tenure.

The addition of former Ottawa Hills standout Evan Bechtel has only helped raise expectations.

St. John's displayed its all-around depth by taking down Cincinnati Sycamore 4-1 in a highly anticipated match yesterday on the indoor courts at Shadow Valley Tennis and Fitness Club.

The Titans took two of the three singles matches and swept the two doubles matches to dominate an early-season clash between teams considered among Ohio's best.

Devon Sbrocchi and Ryan Jorgensen provided wins at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively. Sbrocchi outlasted Sycamore's Yuri Karev 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 while Jorgensen had little trouble putting away Dylan Stein 6-3, 6-2.

Bechtel suffered the lone defeat after Sycamore's Adam Reinhart scored a 6-3, 6-4 decision at No. 1 singles.

"This is a good test for our guys and I think they did very well," Davis said. The Titans placed third last year in the state team tournament, an event run by the state tennis coaches association.

St. John's No. 1 doubles pair Josef Pontasch and Connor Majdalani disposed Sycamore's David Jungerwirth and Jake Maxwell 7-6, 6-3 before Madhav Mehta and Bobby Adusumilli completed the doubles sweep by taking down Nikhil Brandhi and Jeffrey Kaplan 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 2 match.

"I really think we can compete for the state [team] championship this year," Pontasch said. "We have the depth to do so, especially with the addition of Evan Bechtel."

The Titans' depth is particularly obvious at singles. Bechtel, Sbrocchi, and Jorgensen are all capable of playing in the No. 1 spot. Bechtel was a Division II state finalist a year ago. Jorgensen, who served as the No. 1 player for St. John's last season, started the season battling the flu and has been asked to play at No. 3.

However, Jorgensen played like a No. 1 in his match against Stein. He displayed plenty of power on his serves and forehand.

"I just want to be more aggressive and attack early and get to the net, and use my wing span," Jorgensen said.

Sbrocchi showed plenty of fight and senior leadership in his come-from-behind victory.

"I had to keep the ball to his backhand, otherwise, he would have dictated the play," Sbrocchi said.

Davis was pleased that the Titans met the challenge of playing against another strong team.

"We can't sneak up on anybody," Davis said. "We're now the hunted and not the hunters."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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