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Copley boys tennis enjoying ‘best year’ in program history

5/31/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COPLEY — The Copley boys tennis team made it to the state’s final four in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association (OTCA) Team Tournament this season, and head coach Mark Ullman said it “was the best year in Copley’s [boys tennis] history.”

“They did exceedingly well,” he stated. “To get to the state tournament, that’s an elite group of schools.”

The team ended the regular season with a 16-3 record, including a 6-1 mark in the Suburban League. Copley finished as league co-champions with Revere.

In the OTCA Team Tournament, Copley beat Solon, Westlake and Hudson to reach the state’s final four, where they lost to Upper Arlington May 27.

“[Upper Arlington] went on to win it all, so they were the Division I team champion,” said Ullman.

Copley fell in the third-place game to Toledo St. John High School.

“So we wound up fourth,” Ullman said. “We were competitive, but they were very good teams. We got medallions with very nice red, white and blue, a team plaque and certificates. It was very nice.”

Ullman said Copley also qualified a pair of doubles teams to the Division I Boys State Tennis Tournament, which took place May 25-26 at The Ohio State University Outdoor Varsity Tennis Courts.

“The state tournament has 16 teams, and we had two entered,” he said. “They both lost in their first match, but all in all, they got to experience the big-time atmosphere at Ohio State’s new $3 million tennis facility, and they handled it really well, I thought.”

The two doubles teams that competed at the Division I state tournament were Andrew Ong and Jarad Pennington and the team of Austin Aten and Alan Du.

“[Ong and Pennington] were our No. 1 and 2 singles players. They’re pretty even,” Ullman said. “They both played very well. Andrew was the league runner-up at No. 1 singles and Jarad was the winner at No. 2 singles. They were both first-team all-conference.”

The doubles team of Aten and Michael Ellison competed at the OTCA tournament.

“They were basically our No. 1 doubles team for the year,” the coach said. “They won the league championship, and they won a lot of three-set matches to help us get to Columbus as a team. They performed very well.”

Another league championship winner for Copley was Du, who claimed the No. 3 singles title.

“Alan won virtually all of his matches,” Ullman said. “And he won the concluding match against Hudson, which sent us to Columbus. The score was tied 2-2 until Alan won the final tiebreaker to give us the win.”

In addition, the team of senior Max Pristic and junior Keval Yerigeri went undefeated in league play and claimed the league’s second doubles title.

“They performed very, very well,” the coach said. “They weren’t as experienced as some of the other guys, so it’s even more to their credit to win the league championship.”

Ullman said the experience gained this season by his players will prove invaluable moving forward.

“We got some really good experience, and we got to see what it’s all about at the state level,” he said. “We have a lot to look forward to next year.”

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