Woodbury boys tennis: Lightning strikes RoyalsIn a match that could have fallen either way, third-seeded Woodbury lost 4-3 to top-seed and 10th-ranked Eastview on Wednesday, May 25, at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
After the Section 3AA finals, it looked like Woodbury was struck by lightning.
That’s because it had been.
In a match that could have fallen either way, third-seeded Woodbury lost 4-3 to top-seed and 10th-ranked Eastview on Wednesday, May 25, at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights.
Four of the seven matches in the close contest went to three games, with Eastview winning its third and fourth points almost simultaneously — at No. 1 singles and No. 4 singles.
“The guys did everything a coach could ask,” said assistant coach Sean Kangrga, who filled in, along with Michael Moran, for head coach Derek Otto while he was out of the country on his wedding. “All the matches were close. It was obviously tough to take, but you are happy that they got so far and played so well.”
For the Royals (13-5-2), seniors Jake Sajevic and Jason Lu earned wins at No. 2 and No. 3 singles before the match was over, and the duo of seniors Zach Moore and Jan Groth won at third doubles after the match had been decided. The win by Moore and Groth kept them undefeated for the year at third singles.
“The match was a ton of fun, really,” Kangrga said. “It could have went either way and up until the final minutes, you couldn’t tell how it was going to turn out. It was great to see the support of all the fans, too. That was just phenomenal.”
In the match, after Eastview (16-3) won at No. 1 doubles, Woodbury’s Sajevic won 6-4, 6-0, to tie it 1-1. However, the Woodbury No. 2 doubles team of Joey Shubert and Ben Wortmann then fell 1-6, 7-5, 1-6 in a three-set match that put Eastview up 2-1. The Lightning’s Tommy Vang then defeated Woodbury’s Matt Shubert, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, at fourth singles, while Woodbury’s Jason Lu won 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, at third singles to cut the deficit to 3-2. However, Eastview’s Will Biernat then topped Woodbury’s Dennis Zhou 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) at first singles to clinch the Section 3AA championship title for the Lightning and sending the team to the state tournament, while ending the team portion of the Royals season.
“They were pretty bummed, especially because there are so many seniors on the team,” Kangrga said. “But, I think when they look back they’ll be very proud of their season and getting to the section finals.”
Out of the 13 players on the Woodbury roster, 10 are seniors.
A portion of the Royals are competing in the Section 3AA individual tournament, held May 27-June 1 at the Lifetime Fitness in Lakeville.
In doubles play, Moore and Groth lost their first match of the tournament on Friday, but Sajevic and Lu won their first-round match to advance. In singles action, Zhou, who is the sixth seed, advanced to the second round, while Shubert fell to the fifth seed in the opener.
“The section is very deep and there’s a lot of good teams there,” Kangrga said. “You have 14 teams in the section and once you get to the teams three through 10, a lot of those guys have played each other and results go back and fourth a little bit.”