Cardinals stumble in state semifinals

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Gene Kim and Middleton’s boys tennis team reached the state semifinals, before losing to Milwaukee Marquette./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

A point here. A double fault there.

A winner here. An ace there.

The boys tennis teams from Middleton and Marquette split two matches this season that were Spandex-tight. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Marquette’s win came in the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals held at the Menards Tennis Center in Eau Claire last Saturday.

The Hilltoppers won all three doubles matches and edged Middleton, 4-3. The Cardinals had snuck past Marquette, 4-3, back on May 26.

Middleton, which also defeated Eau Claire Memorial, 7-0, in the state quarterfinals last Friday, ended the year 23-2. Marquette, which lost in the state finals to Brookfield East, went 22-3 on the season.

“Overall I thought the team was well-prepared and we played our best tennis all year at team state,” Middleton coach Tony Mirasola said. “From top to bottom we did play very well.

“Coming up a bit short of the final certainly stings for all the guys. But I know all of our returners are all very motivated to get back next year and take that next leap.”

Middleton’s match against Marquette in the semifinals was a memorable one.

The Cardinals posted three singles wins, but couldn't get over the hump in the other matches.

At No. 2 singles, Ian Connell defeated Marquette’s Graham Kunick, 6-1, 7-6 (5). At No. 3, Jonathan Kim toppled Joe Malloy, 6-2, 6-4. And at No. 4, Aarush Gupta edged Aidan Ferber, 3-6, 6-4, (10).

Middleton’s best chance for another win came at No. 3 doubles. But Marquette’s Will Young and Charlie Keller held off Middleton’s Franklin Hu and Saketh Peddireddy, 6-4, 4-6, (9).

“We swept them in singles last time, winning three matches in three sets,” Mirasola said of the Cardinals’ first match with Marquette. “And while we knew we would have to rely on our singles strength again, we also knew there was the opportunity to compete with them better in doubles.

“We were very close at No. 3 doubles losing 11-9 in a match tiebreaker, but we just couldn't quite pull them out.”

The Cardinals had no problems reaching the finals thanks to an impressive win over Eau Claire Memorial.

In singles action, Koji Heineman defeated Ethan Beckermann, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1. Ian Connell downed Evan Birkholz, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 2.

Jonathan Kim cruised by Bennett Kohlhepp, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 3. And at No. 4, Aarush Gupta rolled past Seth Roosevelt, 6-0, 6-0.

In doubles play, Middleton’s top tandem of Gene Kim and Kieran Gopal upended Tommy Peterson and Ryan Hayes, 6-3, 6-4. At No. 2, Anders Clark and Jacob Mandelbrot rolled past Jackson Sailing and Sam Prasher, 6-0, 6-1. And at No. 3, Hu and Peddireddy defeated Grant Johnson and Gavin Sorensen, 6-2, 6-4.

“We started off with a really strong performance against Eau Claire Memorial,” Mirasola said. We knew they have some strong players and particularly our doubles teams really showed up and brought the energy that we needed.”


June 25


#2 Middleton (23-1) 7 vs. #7 Eau Claire Memorial (14-7), 0

Singles Flight 1: Koji Heineman, M defeated Ethan Beckermann, ECM, 6-2, 6-2.

Flight 2: Ian Connell, M defeated Evan Birkholz, ECM, 6-2, 6-0.

Flight 3: Jonathan Kim, M defeated Bennett Kohlhepp, ECM, 6-2, 6-2.

Flight 4: Aarush Gupta, M defeated Seth Roosevelt, ECM, 6-0,6-0.


Doubles Flight 1: Gene Kim/Kieran Gopal, M defeated Tommy Peterson/Ryan Hayes, ECM, 6-3, 6-4.

Flight 2: Anders Clark/Jacob Mandelbrot, M defeated Jackson Sailing/Sam Prasher, ECM, 6-0, 6-1.

Flight 3: Franklin Hu/Saketh Peddireddy, M defeated Grant Johnson/Gavin Sorensen, ECM, 6-2, 6-4.


June 26


Marquette (22-3) 4 vs. Middleton (23-2) 3

Singles Flight 1: Noah White, M defeated Koji Heineman, Mdtn, 6-2, 6-3.

Flight 2: Ian Connell, Mdtn defeated Graham Kunick, M, 6-1, 7-6 (5).

Flight 3: Jonathan Kim, Mdtn defeated Joe Malloy, M, 6-2, 6-4.

Flight 4: Aarush Gupta, Mdtn defeated Aidan Ferber, M, 3-6, 6-4, (10).


Doubles Flight 1: Sam Marshall/Lincoln Marshall, M defeated Gene Kim/Kieran Gopal, Mdtn, 6-1, 6-3.

Flight 2: Jack Keller/Daniel Egelhoff, M defeated Anders Clark/Jacob Mandelbrot, Mdtn, 7-6(2), 6-2.

Flight 3: Will Young/Charlie Keller, M defeated Franklin Hu/Saketh Peddireddy, Mdtn, 6-4, 4-6, (9).


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