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Woodbury boys tennis: Royals rally to win first 'Crosstown Showdown'

Woodbury senior Aditya Vasavan is hoisted off the court Thursday, April 25, after winning the final match against East Ridge, which gave the Royals a 4-3 win.

The Royals picked up some brand new hardware last week.

Woodbury topped East Ridge on Thursday, April 25, in the inaugural "Crosstown Showdown" battle, bringing home a trophy and a 2-0 record in the Suburban East Conference.

The Royals earned the win on the strength of their singles play. Senior Matt Shubert, junior Ben Sajevic, junior Joey Shubert and senior Aditya Vasavan all won their matches. All three Woodbury doubles teams fell to East Ridge competitors.

"We are moving in the right direction," Woodbury tennis coach Michael Moran said. "Every match is going to be tough and we need everyone playing determined tennis. Every day the boys are learning and getting better. It is all part of the journey."

The week started on a slow note but picked up for Woodbury.

The Royals lost 4-3 on April 24 in a road match against St. Thomas Academy. The match, played in wet, blustery conditions, saw victories from Matt Shubert at No. 1 singles, Sajevic at No. 2 singles and Vasavan at No. 4 singles.

Moran said his players showed "mental toughness" in the face of the tough conditions.

"Both teams had to play in the conditions," he said. "We can't worry about the things we cannot control."

Against East Ridge, the teams were tied 3-3 with Vasavan's match against sophomore Riley Pratt. Players from both teams took up seats on the court and watched as Vasavan won the long battle.

Moran said he was proud of the effort, but was concerned about the struggles his doubles players were showing.

"We pride ourselves on playing Royals doubles -- smart, aggressive and unified," he said. "We simply are not there yet."

Friday's match against nonconference foe St. Paul Harding saw a shake-up that yielded success. Matt Shubert and Sajevic teamed up to play No. 1 doubles and cruised in a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Moran said the successful pairing gave rise to the duo considering teaming up again for the individual portion of the section tournament.

"Their games complement each other so well," the coach said. "They're a pretty deadly combination when they're on."

Joey Shubert moved into the No. 1 singles position, and lost a three-set battle.

Other winners against Harding were Vasavan and No. 2 singles, junior Michael Chu and No. 3 singles and junior Darsh Desai at No. 4 singles.

The long week concluded Saturday with the Royal-Raptor Invitational, which brought eight teams to WHS and ERHS courts.

The Royals finished fourth in the tournament, while East Ridge took second place. Park finished sixth at the invite. Hudson took first place.

Matt Shubert shined in the tournament, where he vaulted into the championship match at No. 1 singles. He lost in a three-set tiebreaker. The No. 2 doubles pairing of Arie Scherson and Desai finished third in their bracket, while the No. 1 doubles team of David Lundberg and Matt Meidt earned a fourth-place finish.

Woodbury began another busy week on Monday against Hastings before traveling to fellow SEC school Hastings. The Royals (4-1, 2-0 SEC) finish the week on Thursday in a home match against Mounds View.