Talented at the top, USN tennis set to pursue another state title

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 10:16pm

Playing second fiddle once again won’t allow Alex Metzman to take his eyes off the biggest prize.

Like last year, the University School of Nashville sophomore is playing No. 2 singles for the Tigers’ tennis team this spring. One might expect him to be the Tigers’ ace, given the fact he is the defending state singles champion in DII-A.

“I’m OK with it,’’ Metzman said after he beat Donelson Christian Academy senior Austin Black 8-2 in USN’s final dual match of the season. That victory helped the Tigers beat DCA 5-2 Thursday in a match moved to Ravenwood Club.

The No. 1 honor belongs to sophomore Michael King as the Tigers prepare to open defense of their state team title next week.

“We (he and King) play each other pretty even in practice, but he won the match before the season started that was the one that counted,” Metzman said. “In the final analysis, it all comes down to who is playing best when the tournaments start.

“We’re a close-knit team, with a bunch of really nice guys. I just want what is best for the team. I think I’ve improved since last year.”

“I don’t think he’s completely happy about it (playing No. 2), but he wants what’s best for team,” coach Russell Buchi said. “He and Michael have both played very well this spring, as has our team.”

Last spring, Metzman played No. 2 behind teammate Sreyas Reddy. But Metzman beat Reddy in the region finals, then followed that with a three-set win over Reddy in the state finals, rallying from 2-5 down and 0-40 in the third set to win 7-5.

He and King are playing singles for the Tigers who open singles and doubles play in the DII Middle/East Region Friday at Sewanee. Another sophomore, Michael Stephanides is undefeated this year at No. 3 singles.

Looking at the toughest tournament competition for USN, Metzman said, “In team, it would be Knoxville Webb (which dropped down from AA to A this school year) and Lausanne. And in singles, it would be Brandon Ficke (who won the DII-AA singles title last year) and Harrison Smith (Webb’s No. 2 player).

“I feel we’ll be very competitive with Webb,” Buchi said. “We’re ready to go and I feel like we’ll give a very good account of ourselves.”

Regardless of who is playing first or second fiddle.

Most of Nashville’s tournament action begins Friday and this weekend.

FRA hosts: Franklin Road Academy has a double sports day Saturday at home. The Panthers open the DII-A baseball tournament against Davidson Academy, and the soccer team takes on Riverside Christian. Both games begin at noon.

DCA games: Donelson Christian Academy visits Ezell-Harding Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Wildcats’ DII-A baseball opener. The DCA softball team takes on Mt. Juliet Christian Saturday at 5 p.m. at Trevecca. And DCA visits Zion Christian in the Wildcats’ DII-A soccer opener.