University High School Tennis Team Won National High School Tennis All-American Invitational Tournament
On Saturday, March 16th, University High School tennis team defeated Menlo High School 6-3 to win the All-American Team Invitational. On their way to the finals, Trojans only lost one match, defeating Clovis West High School 8-0, Beacon School 7-1, and Bellarmine College Prep High School 8-0. Menlo also cruised to the finals, 8-0, 8-0, 7-1.
The two teams have met in the finals for the past four years. After University’s win this year, each school has won twice in their final meetings. Menlo came out on top in 2010 and 2012, while Trojans were victorious in 2011 and 2013. One of the reasons that the two have been able to meet in the finals is the strong class of 2013 of both teams. Gage Brymer, Stefan Menichella, and Tyler Lu are leading the Trojans to their fourth straight CIF title this year. Andrew Ball, Richard Pham, and Daniel Morkovine have been big parts of Menlo’s success as well. After last year’s tragic loss, University’s coaches and players were eager for a rematch. Menlo upset Uni 5-4 in the finals of 2012, but only because of the absence of Gage Brymer and the numerous injuries that the team faced.
This year, however, the Trojans were in full force with everyone present at the tennis tournament. Starting the match with doubles, University’s line up included Gage Brymer/Tyler Lu at 1, Stefan Menichella/Drew Dawson at 2, and Eric Tseng/Arash Hafezi at 3. The Trojans were confident that if they won at least 2 of the doubles, the championship would be theirs. Stefan and Drew were first to finish by defeating Daniel Morkovine and David Ball 8-4. Eric and Arash were unable to win against Menlo’s young stars, Victor Pham and Lane Leschly. Down 1-4 early on, the Trojans came back to 3-4, but after losing an incredibly long game on Victor Pham’s serve to tie the match, they were unable to recover, losing 5-8. On the central court, Gage and Tyler took control of the match, leading the entire way to an 8-6 victory. Although Uni was up 7-4, Menlo was able to win the next two games, to close in at 7-6. However the team could not handle Gage’s serve and the Trojans took the #1 doubles. As a result, the Trojans had a 2-1 lead before the six singles matches started.
The match-ups were Gage Brymer vs Richard Pham at 1, Tyler Lu vs Andrew Ball at 2, Stefan Menichella vs Victor Pham at 3, Drew Dawson vs Daniel Morkovine at 4, Eric Tseng vs David Ball at 5, and Jay Min vs Lane Leschly at 6. Stefan was the first to secure his win.
Down 2-3 at first, he was able to dominate the next six games, winning 8-3. Tyler also had some early struggles, but managed to take control of the second part of the match, also winning 8-3. Drew then clinched Uni’s victory with an 8-3 win. Daniel Morkovine, who defeated Reo Asami 7-6 in the deciding match of last year’s finals, tasted the tears of defeat this year as Drew secured the title for University. Gage had no problem with Richard Pham and took home the sixth win for Uni, 8-2. On the last court, two freshmen battled it out, but Jay couldn’t handle Lane’s powerful serve and groundstrokes, losing 4-8. Perhaps Jay was also distracted by Lane’s visor to play properly. The last match of the day turned out to be a 6-8 loss for Uni’s Eric Tseng, who fought until the very end against Andrew Ball’s younger brother, David. One of the highlights of the entire tournament was Eric’s tweener passing shot in that match. Although losing the last two sets felt anticlimactic for University, the team reached its goal of avenging last year’s loss and winning National High-School Tennis All-American Invitational.
Next year will certainly prove to be interesting as both tennis teams will lose many of their star tennis players and lesser known guys will have to step up.