Avon Lake Shoremen win home Doubles Tournament

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon Lake’s Tim Vilari returns a serve during a doubles match against Lakewood on Saturday at Avon Lake High School.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon Lake's Jimmy Chase returns a volley during the doubles match against Lakewood on Saturday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon Lake's Tim Vilari (left) and Jimmy Chase take on Lakewood on Saturday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon Lake's Jimmy Chase returns a shot against Lakewood on Saturday.

AVON LAKE — When former Shoremen first singles James Darkow announced he was leaving the team to focus on running, Avon Lake knew its path to the Southwestern Conference title was going to be that much more difficult.

So when they learned Thursday that newly anointed first singles Greg Miller is out for the season, due to a knee injury, it could have disheartened them irreparably. Instead, the Shoremen banded together Saturday, snatching three of five brackets to win the Avon Lake Doubles Tournament with 18 points and improve to 5-2 on the season.

“I know Greg and the rest of the team really took it hard,” Avon Lake coach Adam Slabodnick said. “It was a shock, but like we’ve said since Day 1, we’re a good team. We just have to keep going out and proving it.”

St. Ignatius and Lakewood split second place with 12 points while North Royalton took fourth with 8 points.

In their first time as a doubles tandem, Tim Villari — the Shoremen’s new first singles — and Jimmy Chase overcame tiebreakers against Lakewood’s Chris Richardson and Chris Brinich, 8-7 (5) and St. Ignatius’s Sean Frebes and Mitchell Pallaki, 8-7 (2) before topping North Royalton’s Jordan Soster and Rohit Anand 8-6 to set the tone and sweep first doubles.

“They needed to play to their strengths and figure out how to make the moves they need to,” Slabodnick said. “With Jimmy Chase’s experience with three years of doubles, that was the major key. Timmy sets him up like a singles player and Jimmy will play doubles on the court. Once they figured out how to play their singles/doubles hybrid, it was good.”

Sweeping second doubles was the St. Ignatius duo of Jacob Wesslkamper and Alexander Zucca, of St. Ignatius. Wesslkamper and Zucca went to a tiebreaker before beating North Royalton’s Troy PeterJohn and Noah Pixton 8-7 (8) and then defeated Avon Lake’s Jack O’Neil and Austin Wright and Lakewood’s Alex Northrop and Dan Mezin, 8-6 and 8-5.

Avon Lake also conceded the fourth doubles bracket to Lakewood. While the Shoremen combo of Austin Rice and Eric Stonecipher won two of three matches, the Rangers pair of Tom Ebner and Frank Figueiseab won all three of theirs to take the bracket.

Hunter Tharp, who is undefeated this season in third singles, joined with Salam Ashi to take the third doubles title for the Shoremen in dominant fashion. Tharp and El Ashi topped Matt Carlson and Collin Levis, of Lakewood, 8-1, Bradley Merk and John Mtlanna of St. Ignatius 8-3, before closing out the sweep by beating Reese Marsh and Darsh Patel by the same score.

Perhaps equally as dominant, Alec Turung and Nathan Mange took fifth doubles for Avon Lake. Turung and Mange made quick work of James Dilzell and Irfan Khan of Lakewood, taking them 8-3, then went on to beat St. Ignatius’ Prithvi Pendakanti and Alexander Zuciza and North Royalton’s Mo Saao and Muru Singaran by scores of 8-2 and 8-1.

“We’ve got plenty of good guys on this team,” Slabodnick said. “We went out there and showed that today. We stepped up.”

The Shoremen will look to build off their win when they host Amherst on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

@natepentecost

Last Updated: 4/13/2013 10:09:07 PM EST

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