As the Princeton Invitational wound down Saturday, coaches and players weren’t intently watching action on the court.
Instead, everyone was gathered around a table as Princeton coach Connie Lind tallied games lost to break a tie for places two-four in No. 2 doubles.
When the math was complete, the host Tigers and Streator tied for the team championship with 17 points each.
Mendota (16) placed third, La Salle-Peru (15) was fourth, Pontiac (10) was fifth and St. Bede (9) was sixth.
The Tigers and Bulldogs took different paths to their share of the title.
Princeton used a balanced lineup with second-place finishes by Tyson Phillips at No. 1 singles and Nolan Mallery at No. 2 singles along with a third-place finish by Jackson Dressler and Reid Orwig at No. 1 doubles and a fourth-place finish by Matthew Sims and Niklas Schneider at No. 2 doubles.
“It’s very exciting,” Lind said. “I expected the boys to do well and we did exceptional. Over the (25) years (I’ve been coaching), we have got second place, but I can’t remember the last time we were first.
“I think everybody played well. The wind we had, everybody was fighting it. They just kept fighting.”
Streator rode the strong play of its two singles players as Davey Rashid won the No. 1 singles bracket with a 5-0 record, while Ryan Beck went unbeaten to win the title at No. 2 singles.
“I think all of them played great,” said assistant coach Rob Beck, who was filling in for head coach John Sandoval. “We haven’t had many matches this season. Playing five in a day is more than we’ve played all season. From top to bottom, they all played great and played hard.
“It’s outstanding (to win a share of the title). We play all these local teams in this tournament and to come out with a first place tie is great.”
Rashid rolled through the No. 1 singled bracket, winning 6-1, 6-0; 6-1, 6-0; 6-1, 6-2; 6-3, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-0.
“I don’t think I lost a service game, so my serves were on today,” Rashid said. “I think that was the main think. I had to take into account the wind because when the wind was at my back my serve was a lot better and when the wind was coming toward me my forehand was better.”
Rashid’s most challenging match came against Princeton’s Phillips, the runner up in the bracket.
“I started off pretty slow,” Rashid said. “I think I was down 3-2 to start. He had a different forehand. I had to get used to it. I was down 3-2 and then got my act together and won the first set 6-3 and finished strong with a 6-0 second set.”
Andrew Stamberger and Logan Brandner led the Trojans as they went 5-0 at No. 1 doubles.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Stamberger said. “This is our first tournament of the year and it feels good to win.”
Stamberger and Brandner got their toughest test in their first match as they topped L-P’s Joe Pohar and Andrew Bollis 6-4, 6-3.
“We thought we’d have a pretty good chance of winning (coming in),” Brandner said. “We knew L-P was going to put up a fight and they did.
“We really just adapted to what their strategies were and we tried to play the wind, lob it and tried to hit the short shots so they couldn’t get to it.”
Pohar and Bollis finished 4-1 to place second at No. 1 doubles, while Traeger Abens and Ethan Picco went 5-0 to win the No. 2 doubles bracket for the Cavs.
“(Abens and Picco) finish at the net really well,” L-P coach Aaron Guenther said. “when they get the opportunity, they very rarely play patty cake back. They really stick their volleys. We talk about you’ve got three options — you can hit them, you can split them or you can send it off the court — and they really stick with those three options pretty well.
“(Pohar and Bollis) had a really tough match against Mendota in the first round. They were the two best teams here. To have that as your first match is pretty tough. And then to lose, it’s even tougher. But they were able to bounce back and they really stormed through the rest of the day.”
George Guo led the Bruins as he placed third at No. 2 singles.
Source: The Daily Chronicle