Culver Academy beats Rochester for 18th consecutive sectional title
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
CULVER –- The Culver Academy boys tennis team swept Rochester 5-0 on their home courts at the Gable Tennis Center Sept. 30 to win their 18th consecutive sectional title.
Rochester won just six games total in five matches, and in three of the matches, they didn’t win any games.
The composition of this four-team sectional – Rochester, Culver Academy, Knox, North Judson – has been intact since 2004, which coincides with the Eagles’ sectional streak. Culver Academy has not lost a sectional match since falling to Plymouth in the 2003 sectional final.
Meanwhile, Rochester has not won a sectional title since 1983.
In the singles matches, Brayden Zink lost to Constantino Oberto 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1, Brock Bowers lost 6-0, 6-0 to Aydin Turgut at No. 2, and Drew Strasser fell to Samuel Meares 6-3, 6-0 at No. 3.
In the doubles matches, CMA’s Dominic Hayden and Blake Van Doren blanked Tanner Reinartz and Cody Smith 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 while Peter Allen and William Tullis beat Robert Bozzo and Jake Freeman 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2.
The loss was just the second of the season for Bozzo and Freeman. Both Allen and Tullis are freshmen.
Oberto replied to Zink’s topspin forehands and slice backhands with even more topspin and slice and added precise placement to boot.
Turgut utilized more of a serve-and-volley approach against Bowers.
“He did a great job of almost kind of disguising getting himself to the net, and before you knew it, he was there and put the ball away,” Atkinson said. “That’s tough. That’s tough for a bunch of players who aren’t perennial country clubbers and those kind of things.”
Atkinson also praised Strasser for playing a “patient” match
Both of Culver Academy’s doubles teams had one left-handed player and one right-handed player. The left-handed player seemingly used a kick serve to force the Rochester returner to send his ball right at the poaching net man for easy put-away volleys.
Still, Atkinson praised the efforts of Bozzo and Freeman.
“They decided they were going to compete,” Atkinson said. “They weren’t going to let the opponent or the match be too big. They’ve had a great year together, and they decided they were going to go out and do what they could, and they played a good match.”
Rochester has lost to Culver Academy in the sectional final 10 times during their 18-year run, including six times in the last eight years.
The Zebras, who have no seniors, finished 8-5. The No. 21 Eagles have only two seniors.
“It was a good season,” Atkinson said. “We’ve got a young team. We have no seniors. We’re very junior-heavy, so we’ll have a ton of seniors next year. One of the things that I’ve talked about the last several weeks in preparation for this season is while we are not extraordinarily experienced, the experience that these guys have was very meaningful experience. And so a lot of these guys, while they haven’t been necessarily top seven their entire time in high school, when they were called upon, even before this season, they rose to the occasion and stepped up and took on that challenge. So with that in mind, coming off the last couple years, where you saw a lot of the same names in the lineup pretty much the last four years – your McCarters, your Reinartzes and the like – and all of a sudden, those guys aren’t there, and these guys did a good job trying to step into those roles and take up the mantle and continue the tradition, I guess.”
Results: Culver Academy 5, Rochester 0
Constantino Oberto (CMA) def. Brayden Zink (RHS), 6-0, 6-0
Aydin Turgut (CMA) def. Brock Bowers (RHS), 6-0, 6-0
Samuel Meares (CMA) def. Drew Strasser (RHS), 6-3, 6-0
Dominic Hayden-Blake Van Doren (CMA) def. Tanner Reinartz-Cody Smith (RHS), 6-0, 6-0
Peter Allen-William Tullis (CMA) def. Robert Bozzo-Jake Freeman (RHS), 6-1, 6-2