New Richmond's Bradish, Hop, win MBC tennis tournament titles
y winning the top two singles flights and placing among the top three in six of the seven flights, the New Richmond boys tennis team made a tremendous run at winning the Middle Border Conference boys tennis tournament at Baldwin-Woodville High School last Tuesday.
The Tigers tied with Altoona in second place in the tournament with 27 points. Eau Claire Regis took home the team title with 30 points.
New Richmond senior Nick Bradish earned the championship in the one singles flight. In a spirited match, Bradish defeated Hunter Cameron of Regis 6-2, 7-6 to win the championship. Last year, Cameron defeated Bradish in the one singles finals.
The first set was more competitive than the 6-2 score would indicate, with most of the games going to deuce. The second set was back and forth, with both players holding leads. Bradish led 5-4 in the second set before Cameron won the next two games. Bradish had to hold his serve to get the match to a tie-breaker.
The tie-break was just as close. It was tied 5-5 before Bradish took the next two points to earn his second MBC one singles title. He was also the one singles champion as a sophomore.
Tiger coach Mike Montello said Bradish has been making sharp improvements in playing well in pressure situations.
“He showed great playing maturity,” Montello said.
Tiger junior Jack Hop was the champion at two singles. Hop dominated at this level. After giving up two games in his first two matches, he defeated Regis’ Victor Bourget 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match. This is the third individual conference title for Hop, who won the three singles title each of the past two years.
Bourget was Hop’s opponent in the three singles final a year ago. Bourget tried to frustrate Hop by keeping the ball in play. The ploy worked for a few games before Hop took control.
In the three and four singles flights, the Tigers took second place to Regis.
Senior Casey Turnipseed opened three singles action with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Osceola’s Nick Benoy. Turnipseed was the third seed and he played one of his finest matches of the season in beating the second seed, Altoona’s Tanner Magruder, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals.
Turnipseed faced another of the Bourget brothers, Marcus, in the finals, losing 6-2, 6-3.
Pearson was also seeded third. He opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Ellsworth. He also knocked off an Altoona second seed in the semifinals, beating Calib Thill 6-1, 6-0.
“His match in the semis against the Altoona player was mind boggling. He is at a disadvantage against most players physically but plays very smart and methodical,” Montello said.
In the finals Pearson faced Cam Pedersen of Regis, who is nearly a foot taller than the Tiger freshman. Despite the height disadvantage, Pearson was able to take the match to three sets, losing 6-2, 3-6, 10-6.
“My team played up to and beyond their potential. Stuart’s performance was a great example of that,” Montello said.
New Richmond’s three doubles team of Mitch Giannini and Russ Hop was another third seed that rose up to take second place. Giannini and Hop started with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Osceola. They pulled off a big upset in the semifinals by overwhelming an Altoona duo 6-1, 6-1. Altoona had beaten the Tigers in a dual match two weeks earlier.
In the finals, Giannini and Hop lost to Regis 6-2, 7-5.
The Tigers also got a third place performance from Logan Dadez and Sam Hagen in the two doubles flight. As the third seed, they opened with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Osceola. They couldn’t overcome Altoona in the semifinals, losing 6-3, 7-5. Dadez and Hagen recorded another of the Tigers’ wins over Regis in the third place match, by a 6-3, 6-0 score.
The only Tiger entry that didn’t place was the one doubles team of Connor Earley and Vitaliy Gutsal, who lost 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round to Eau Claire Regis.
Montello said the Tigers made a strong impression with their well-balanced performance in the tournament.
“Our performance far exceeded how we looked on paper going in,” he said.
On Thursday the Tigers hosted Hudson and River Falls in a triangular designed to help make seeding easier for this week’s WIAA subsectional and sectional tournaments. The Tigers couldn’t match the intensity they played with on Tuesday, splitting their matches. The Tigers beat River Falls 5-2 but were overwhelmed by a talented Hudson team, 7-0.
Montello said the Tigers were flat to start Thursday’s action and never got rolling at full steam.
“The combination of a great performance at conference on Tuesday, and then Valleyfair for the seniors all day (Wednesday) didn’t help our readiness for competitive tennis,” he said.
The Tigers got wins at the top three singles flights and two and three doubles against River Falls. Pearson injured his knee early in the competition and Kyle McKibben stepped in capably to play both four singles matches.
This week the Tigers begin WIAA Division 1 tournament action. They were scheduled to play in the WIAA Chippewa Falls subsectional on Tuesday. The top finishers in the subsectional will advance into this Thursday’s Eau Claire Memorial sectional meet. Advancers include the top four finishers in one singles and one doubles and the top finisher at all other flights in the subsectional.