MURFREESBORO – With their hopes of advancing to another final wavering in the wind, University School of Nashville turned to a pair of sophomores to bail them out.
The defending state champions found themselves in a hard-fought DII-A boys semifinal match with University School of Jackson. The match was tied 3-3 after almost three hours.
But not to worry.
Michael Stephanides and Sathvik Reddy, who won the DII-A state doubles championship last year as freshmen, easily captured the deciding match, 8-2, at No. 2 doubles and gave the Tigers a 4-3 win.
Stephanides never lost his serve, and the Tigers won the final six games of the match, which gave their team a chance at a title repeat. They play powerful Knoxville Webb 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Old Fort Park.
“We were very confident going into the match because both Sathvik and I won our singles matches over our two opponents,” the lanky 6-2 Stephanides said. “We expected to win.”
“It was awesome to get the win after such a hard-fought match,” Reddy said. “I had tough three-set match in singles, but Michael and I were very confident we could win the doubles match.”
Defending DII-A singles champ Alex Metzman also won his singles match at No. 2, giving USN a 3-2 going into doubles. But Metzman and partner Michael King lost their doubles match at No. 1, setting up the sophomore bailout.
The final could be equally as challenging.
“We were supposed to play Webb, and we started a match with them (in April), and it was very close,” coach Russell Buchi said. “We were tied with them 3-3 in two singles matches, and we led them 5-1 in one match, and they led us 5-1 in another before the rains came. We re-scheduled the match a second time, but it was rained out.”
Webb blanked Franklin Road Academy 4-0 and lost just six games the entire match.
MBA reaches final, meets Baylor
MBA came out smoking and scored a decisive 4-0 win over Memphis University School in the DII-AA semis.
Next, the Big Red will try to avenge a 4-3 loss three weeks ago when they meet Baylor (a 4-1 winner over McCallie) 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“Overall, everyone really played well,” said senior Naveen Chadalavada, who breezed past Will Carruthers 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 singles and was the first player off the court in singles. In quick order, Russ Anderson and Davis Threalkill won their matches at No. 4 and 5 in straight sets, clinching the match.
“We have really been looking forward to playing Baylor since they beat us earlier, and we’re ready for a great match,” Chadalavada said of MBA, which is looking for its first state crown since 2003.
Vanderbilt-bound Roger Briggs had split sets with MUS’ Marshall Sharp, rallying to even the match (2-6, 7-6) after winning a well-played 7-1 tiebreaker.
• Christ Presbyterian’s girls, making their first state tournament appearance, beat seven-time former champ Chattanooga Christian 4-1.
In the A/AA final, the Lions will meet Christian Academy of Knoxville 9 a.m. Wednesday.
• Two Williamson County teams go for state titles Wednesday – the Brentwood High boys and Ravenwood girls. In the finals, BHS meets McMinn County, and Ravenwood takes on White Station.
Brentwood avenged a 4-0 finals loss last year to Science Hill with a 4-0 win Tuesday. And Ravenwood, which lost in the semis last year, blanked Cleveland 4-0.
• Harpeth Hall lost its semis match to GPS, 4-0.