Jeff Wallner reports:
Mason’s Miguel Cepeda and Luke Tsai are great individual tennis players. But that did not assure them of being successful as doubles partners. Last year the Comets’ duo mostly rode their individual talents to a Division I state runner-up finish. But after a full year of training together and building a relationship off the court, Cepeda and Tsai say they’re better positioned this year to capture a Division I state championship.
“We play at the same club together, we carpool together, practice together,” Cepeda said. “Last year was our first year playing doubles together. We’re more experienced, stronger. Instead of just wanting to get to state, our goal this year is to win it.”
In the semifinals of Saturday’s D-I sectional tournament, Cepeda and Tsai were challenged by Sycamore’s Yuri Karev and Nakul Narendran but emerged with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
“Our games complement each other,” Tsai said. “Miguel puts away shots. I can put him in good position. That’s our best attack.”
In the sectional final, Cepeda and Tsai faced their Mason teammates John Mostowy and Colin Heim, who defeated Sycamore’s Dylan Stern and Nikhil Gandhi in the semis. Cepeda and Tsai emerged with a 6-3, 6-0 victory.
The individual star at Saturday’s sectional tournament was Lakota East senior Zach Mueck, a Xavier commit who’s hoping to overcome tendonitis in his right elbow and close out his career with a state singles title. Mueck said the elbow occasionally tightens up during competition, but that it’s nothing he can’t overcome.
On Saturday Mueck overcame some unforced errors in the first set to edge Mason’s Alexander Lebedev 7-6, 6-3 in the semifinals. “I kept double-faulting,” said Mueck, who repeatedly voiced his frustration to himself during the match. “Just a lack of effort and concentration on my part.”
In the sectional final, Mueck, a two-time state runner-up who posted his 100th career victory at the Coaches Classic Tournament on April 21, rolled to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Mason’s Jeremy Schneider.
In the D-II sectional singles final at Mason, Bishop Fenwick’s David Leesman won the title by defeating Waynesville’s David Jeffries 3-0 after Jeffries retired during the first set.
New Richmond’s doubles team of Zach Manning and Matt Rydzewski defeated Felicity-Franklin’s Trevor Shouse and Jacob Fry in the semifinals before dropping a 6-1, 6-0 decision to Waynesville’s Stephen Jeffries and Mitch Chamberlain in the finals.