Tennis Cards shine at state

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Sam Dettman (left) and Brandon Bodak (right) finished fifth in doubles at last weekend’s WIAA Division 1 state tennis meet.

Motivation. Drive. Enthusiasm.

Ryan Gold, Middleton’s top singles player, and the Cardinals’ top doubles team of Brandon Bodak and Sam Dettman had all of these last Saturday — even though it would have been easy for all three to be listless.

The trio had all lost in the quarterfinals of the WIAA Division 1 boys state tournament last Friday night. Now, all three returned to Nielsen Tennis Stadium just 12 hours later knowing their hopes of a state championship had been dashed.

“It was very rough losing in the quarterfinals,” Bodak said. “But we weren’t going to let that stop us from making podium.”

None of the three did.

Gold notched a pair of straight set wins on Saturday and finished in fifth place in the singles division. Dettman and Bodak cruised through their first match, then won a three-set match to finish in fifth in doubles play.

The fantastic finish made it a memorable weekend for all of the Cardinals.

“It was a great weekend with two podium finishes,” Middleton coach Tony Mirasola said. “Only one other school had that.”

Gold had a first round bye, then defeated Jacob Grosz of Hudson, 6-3, 6-2, in a second round match Thursday evening.

Gold cruised past Jared Lawatsch of Neenah, 6-0, 6-0, Friday morning to reach the round of eight. Sun Prairie’s Aidan Schutter — an old nemesis of Gold’s — then toppled Gold in a quarterfinal match, 6-4, 6-2.

“It is never easy losing in the quarterfinals,” Mirasola said. “But (Ryan) came back very motivated on Saturday morning to finish out the individual season strong and make it on the podium.”

That’s for sure.

Gold, who was seeded third when the tournament began, defeated seventh-seeded Noah Viste of Wauwatosa East, 6-2, 6-2, in a consolation match Saturday morning. Then in the fifth place match, Gold rolled past eighth-seeded Alex Budde of Menomonee Falls, 7-5, 6-3.

“There were some times in both matches on Saturday that (Gold’s) game was completely firing on all cylinders,” Mirasola said. “He was able to dig deep and find ways to control his matches.”
Bodak and Dettman did much of the same.

Middleton’s top tandem had a first round bye, then defeated Brookfield Central’s Taral Jella and Christian Schwartz, 6-1, 6-2, in a second round match Friday morning. Dettman and Bodak followed that with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Brookfield East’s Reed Scullen and Michael Francken Friday afternoon.

That sent sixth-seeded Bodak and Dettman into the quarterfinals against third-seeded Max Loen and Danylo Ripeckyj of Eau Claire Memorial. Dettman and Bodak won the first set, 7-5, but Loen and Ripeckyj rallied back to take the next two sets, 6-1, 6-3.

“Eau Claire Memorial has a really solid doubles team with their big serves and just how they moved together on the court,” Bodak said. “We had a rough start at first, but still managed to get our energy up and come back to win the first set.

“After having the momentum on our side, losing the next two sets were very hard on us. They started making more shots and finishing more balls. Overall, this match was tough on us because Sam and I both wanted to go further. However, it was still a great match.”

Bodak and Dettman had a pair of great matches Saturday.

They opened with a 6-2, 6-1 win over seventh-seeded Michael Morway and Joey Slicker of Homestead in the consolation bracket. Then Bodak and Dettman rallied for a 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2 win over eighth-seeded Jordan Oaks and Cole Roecker of Kettle Moraine to lock down fifth place.

That meant a trip to the podium, where the top-six finishers in each division are recognized.

“I feel like this past weekend went pretty well because Sam and I played our game and managed to make it on the podium,” Bodak said. “We knew what we had to do (Saturday) and came in with a clear, positive mindset.

“Since we were playing teams that went through the same thing Sam and I did on Friday, we knew that the first team to bring the energy would win. So, that’s exactly what we did.”

Mirasola saw plenty of energy from his top doubles team.

“Sam and Brandon had a great weekend,” Mirasola said. “They were certainly disappointed after losing to Eau Claire Memorial in the quarterfinals, but they came out early the next morning and played some unbelievable tennis against Homestead and finished off the fifth place match by beating a very scrappy Kettle Moraine team.”

Middleton’s No. 2 doubles team of senior Alton Yan and sophomore Gene Kim also had an enjoyable trip to state.

Yan and Kim rallied past Marshfield’s Jared Cordova and Will Fay, 6-3, 6-0, in a first round match on Thursday. Colin Knutson and Nick Fisher of Brookfield East then outlasted Yan and Kim, 7-6 (1), 6-4, in a second round match on Friday.

“Our (No.) 2 doubles team (Yan and Kim) started slow in their first match against Marshfield, but were really able to take control,” Mirasola said. “Then they played arguably their best doubles of the year against the No. 5 seed from Brookfield East.”

Middleton hopes to play some of its best tennis of the year this weekend at the state team tournament.

The Cardinals are the No. 5 seed and meet fourth-seeded Hartland Arrowhead in a quarterfinal match that begins at 5:30 p.m. at Nielsen. The winner advances to the state semifinals Saturday at 9 a.m., and the state finals are Saturday at 2 p.m.

Milwaukee Marquette is the No. 1 seed, and would be the Cardinals’ likely opponent if Middleton defeats Arrowhead in the quarterfinals.

“We’ll make sure to end the season strong this weekend at team state,” Bodak said.



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