REYNOLDBURG, Ohio — During a weekend that included hours of tennis, hot weather, and plenty of drama, St. John’s junior Kevin Brown was forced to dig deep in his final match Sunday in the Division I state team tournament.
With the Titans leading Massillon Jackson 2-0 and looking to secure a third-place finish, Brown was leading Jackson’s Anthony Kaman 6-1, 4-0 when he called timeout because of an upset stomach.
He returned to the court a few minutes later, came back from a 40-30 deficit to go up 5-0 and closed out the set for a 6-1, 6-0 win that gave St. John’s a 3-0 victory.
“I’ve been kind of feeling it [sick] all weekend,” Brown said. “I knew my team wanted me to win, so I had to stick it out for them. I thought it was important to send our seniors out with a victory.”
Brown teamed up with senior brother Ryan Brown to earn a state runner-up finish at the OHSAA state doubles tournament Saturday at Ohio State.
At that event, the duo played in two three-set matches.
The Titans, who were state team champions in 2011 but settled for fourth a year ago, lost to Upper Arlington 3-0 in a semifinal.
UA had two singles players and two doubles teams at the OHSAA state tournament but lost to Cincinnati Sycamore 3-1 for the championship.
In the consolation, Ryan Brown teamed with senior Jonah Carter to beat Michael Metzer and Mark Spencer 6-1, 6-0 and give St. John’s a 1-0 lead.
Also winning was junior Adam Zychowicz, who edged Jake Zalenski 7-5, 6-1 at second singles.
“It’s important to us,” Zychowicz said. “Even though we had a tough match against UA, our goal was at least to finish third and not fourth like last year. I had a slow start, but the key was that I started hitting deep to his back end and I got on a roll.”
Sophomore Rajeev Laungani won the first set at first singles over Joey Thomas 6-2 and was losing the second set 5-2 when St. John’s completed the victory.
At second doubles, the team of junior Trevor Majdalani and sophomore Ryan Issa was trailing Jackson’s Mark Dickerhoof and Wesley Piekarski 6-4, 4-2.
In the loss to UA, Laungani lost to Charles Shewalter 6-2, 6-0 in singles and Ryan and Carter lost to Eric Hunter and Will Lahrmann 6-4, 6-1 and Issa and Majdalani lost to Tyler Holsopple and Anthony Yang 6-2, 6-2 in doubles.
Carter and Laungani lost in the first round of the OHSAA state doubles tournament Friday.
“I thought [winning the consolation] showed a lot of pride from our guys,” coach Jim Davis said.
“UA beat us and we were able to come back. This was a nice building block for next year.
“It’s good for them to know how hard they have to work.”