ROCKY RIVER — Vermilion senior Chaz Hansen has lost only four matches in what has been a successful final season of high school tennis.
Three of those losses, however, have been to Avon freshman Nico Mostardi.
Just three weeks after Mostardi denied Hansen the chance to repeat as first singles champion at the Lorain County Athletic Administrators Association tournament, he was at it again Saturday, stopping Hansen’s bid to become a three-time West Shore Conference champ with a 6-4, 6-0 win at Tri-City Park.
“I’m really happy with how I played,” said Mostardi, who improved to 18-1. “Chaz played really well, also. It was a close match. He played a lot better this time. He was keeping all balls in play and wasn’t making any unforced errors. You’ve got to give credit to him for doing a real great job.”
Mostardi was the area’s only individual champion in a closely contested battle of five top teams. Mostardi led Avon to 22 points, which finished in a three-way tie with defending champion Rocky River and Vermilion for third.
Bay, which struggled to a 2-4 regular season in the conference, surprised just about everyone with three individual champions and the team title, edging Lakewood, 28-27. Lakewood, however, can still win the outright conference title if it defeats Rocky River in a battle of 5-0 teams Thursday.
“I gave it all I had,” said Hansen, who defeated Bay’s Brandon Myers, 6-1, 6-1, and Lakewood’s Chris Richardson, 6-1, 6-0, to reach the finals. “I tried my best, and that’s all you can do. He’s a great player, there’s no doubt about it. … Fortunately, we’re not in the same sectional.”
Mostardi earned a first-round bye and then beat last year’s runner-up and district qualifier Henry Grierson of Rocky River 6-2, 6-1 to advance to the finals. Grierson, battling arm cramps, finished fourth.
Mostardi suffered his only loss earlier this week, falling 6-0, 6-1 to Cloverleaf’s Jacob Dunbar. It was just what he needed, according to Mostardi.
“It helped a lot,” he said. “I learned a huge lesson from that match. What I was learned from Dunbar is that you’ve just got to keep balls in play. After playing him, that really showed what I need to do if I want to be one of the top players in the state and reach the state tournament.
“I’ve changed up my game a little bit and made it a bit more consistent. I want to do to my opponents what he did to me. Hopefully, I’m able to do that.”
Avon had a chance at two individual titles, but defending second singles champion Macklin Robbins failed to repeat.
Robbins, who survived a 7-5, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4 marathon semifinal match with Lakewood’s Chris Brinich, lost 6-2, 6-4 to Bay’s Jack Reiss in the finals. Reiss’ win gave the Rockets enough points to win the tournament title.
“I hadn’t played Macklin this year, but I played him twice last year,” Reiss said. “We split our two matches and I was expecting another hard-fought match.
“(The team championship is) wonderful because we struggled along the way. I thought we had a better team last year and we lost, so to build this team up and play like we did today is fantastic.”
Last season, Robbins defeated Reiss 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals en route to the second singles championship.
Avon seniors Chance Nicklaus and Tyler Badt took third at first doubles, rebounding from a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) semifinal loss to eventual champs Tyler Enders and Zach Messina of Bay with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Lakewood’s Frank Figueiredo and Alex Northrop.
“That was about what we hoped for,” Avon coach Art Gibbs said of the team’s third-place finish. “We figured we could beat Bay, but didn’t figure we could beat Lakewood or Rocky River. With how Bay did today, we’re happy with third.”
The Sailors got third-place finished from Shane Spencer at third singles and Eddie Adkins and Tim Niehart at second doubles.
“We’re not where we were last year, but we’ve also faced better competition this year,” Hansen said. “You just play against what you’re given and try to do your best, win or lose. I think, overall, we did pretty good this year, all things considered.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Bay, 28; 2. Lakewood, 27; T3. Rocky River, Vermilion, Avon, 22; 6. Midview, 12; 7. North Ridgeville, 5.
FIRST SINGLES: Championship — Nico Mostardi (A) def. Chaz Hansen (V), 6-4, 6-0; Third — Chris Richardson (L) def. Henry Grierson (RR), 7-6 (9-8), 4-6, 6-4; Fifth — Kevin Grau (M) def. Brian Priore (NR), 8-0; Seventh — Brandon Myers (B) won by default; Semifinals — Mostardi def. Grierson, 6-2, 6-1; Hansen def. Richardson, 6-1, 6-0.
SECOND SINGLES: Championship — Jack Reiss (B) def. Macklin Robbins (A), 6-2, 6-4; Third — Chris Brinich (L) def. Garrett Stefani (RR), 6-2, 6-0; Fifth — Connor Sexton (V) def. Jason Grau (M), 8-3; Semifinals — Reiss def. Stefani, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3; Robbins def. Brinich, 7-5, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4.
THIRD SINGLES: Championship — Dan Mezin (L) def. Dan Hippler (B), 6-3, 6-4; Third — Shane Spencer (V) def. Bradley Pease (RR), 6-0, 6-4; Fifth — Chris Andre de la Porte (M) def. Cory Gable (NR), 8-0; Seventh — Oliver Berger (A) won by default; Semifinals — Hippler def. Pease, 6-3, 6-1; Mezin def. Spencer, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
FIRST DOUBLES: Championship — Tyler Enders-Zach Messina (B) def. Michael Ittu-Ryan McDermott (RR), 6-3, 6-4; Third — Chance Nicklaus-Tyler Badt (A) def. Frank Figueiredo-Alex Northrop (L), 6-3, 6-1; Fifth — Kevin Cole-Colin Pawlowski (V) def. Brad Schmidt-Tom Wynne (M), 8-5; Seventh — Brendan Esber-Joe Scott (NR) won by default; Semifinals — Enders-Messina def. Nicklaus-Badt, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5); Ittu-McDermott def. Figueiredo-Northrop, 6-0, 6-3.
SECOND DOUBLES: Championship — Dan Huntley-Carter Cruse (B) def. Matt Carlson-Colin Levis (L), 7-5, 6-1; Third — Eddie Adkins-Tim Niehart (V) def. Connor Jors-Christian Knuebel (RR) by default; Fifth — Nevi Baskar-Shaun Alexander (A) def. Ryan Caithaml-Ryan Cicone (M), 8-2; Semifinals — Carlson-Levis def. Jors-Knuebel by default; Huntley-Cruse def. Adkins-Niehart, 7-5, 6-4.