DENVER | Victories over Cherry Creek are treasured by boys tennis players all over Colorado.
Regis Jesuit’s No. 4 doubles team of sophomore Luca Abbott and junior Max Koszowski came away from Friday’s semifinals at the Class 5A boys state tennis tournament with the rare feeling that comes from knocking off the Bruins on the big stage.
Abbott and Koszowski downed Cherry Creek’s Graydon Johnson and Andy Duggan 7-5, 6-3 to qualify for Saturday’s 9 a.m. championship round at Gates Tennis Center that will also including Regis Jesuit’s No. 3 doubles team of Steven Bummer and Truett Davis.
“Everyone wants to beat Creek because they are such a powerhouse in tennis,” Abbott said. “Whether its an exhibition or here at state, it doesn’t really matter. It’s Creek. …We’re going to enjoy the win for the day and then get back to work tomorrow and pull out the victory, hopefully.”
The Raiders’ win also meant that the Bruins wouldn’t be able to sweep championships in all seven positions, as they did last season. Cherry Creek already mathematically wrapped up its 39th state championship in the past 42 seasons, but would only be able to win a maximum of six championships.
Koszowski admitted to feeling some nerves in his first trip to the state tournament, but he managed to overcome them in the key moments to aid the
“It’s exciting, they are a super good team, so it’s cool to beat them and be in the championship,” Koszowski said. “We’re happy.”
The Raiders boosted their chances with their performance in the final two games of the first set.
Locked in a 5-5 set in which each team had perfectly held its serve, Koszowski held again to give Regis Jesuit a 6-5 lead. With Duggan serving, the Raiders put together their best collection of returns in the set and nearly swept the game to take the first set.
“When there’s no breaks, all you need is one to win it,” Abbott said. “We talked about starting to hit good returns and volleys at the net, which we were able to do to get that break.”
Another break kicked off the second set and the Regis Jesuit team closed it out to set up a championship match against Fossil Ridge’s Tristan Faust and Dylan Harris, a team they’ve beaten twice previously.
Bummer and Davis were touched by a bit of nerves as they waited several hours to play their match due to the ran that had fallen the previous nights on the court. Once they got on, the Raiders struggled with their serve and quickly found themselves in an 0-3 hole against their opponents from Denver East.
The duo finally got on track, took a brief lead and eventually outlasted the Angels 7-6 (7-4) in a tiebreaker. With their legs finally under them, Bummer and Davis swept the second set 6-0 to advance to the state championship match for the second straight season where they will face Cherry Creek again.
The Raiders’ No. 2 doubles team of Alec Jotte and Joey Robertson also battled a Bruins team close in the semifinals, but lost a key tiebreaker to decide the first set and eventually succumbed in the second.
Jotte and Robertson had a playback match later Friday that could put them in the third-place match.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2014 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT
At Gates Tennis Center
Aurora championship matches (Oct. 11, 9 a.m.)
No. 3 doubles: Steven Bummer/Truett Davis (Regis Jesuit) vs. Erin Norwood/Ryan James (Cherry Creek); No. 4 doubles: Luca Abbott/Max Koszowski (Regis Jesuit) vs. Tristan Faust/Dylan Harris (Fossil Ridge)
Aurora semifinals (Oct. 10)
No. 2 doubles: Noah Reiss/Mitchell Johnson def. Alec Jotte/Joey Robertson (Regis Jesuit), 7-6 (4), 6-2; No. 3 doubles: Steven Bummer/Truett Davis (Regis Jesuit) def. TJ Braxton/Eric Dellavalle (Denver East), 7-6 (4), 3-0; No. 4 doubles: Luca Abbott/Max Koszowski (Regis Jesuit) def. Graydon Johnson/Andy Duggan (Cherry Creek), 7-5, 6-3