Colonials' Tennis Falls In State Tournament
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Jun 10, 2014, 08:21
Jonathan Hartson reaches for a return during his 6-1, 6-1 top seed singles match Monday night.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—Several things conspired against the Colonials Monday night as they dropped their 3A state semifinal match to the Hidden Valley Titans 5-2.
The win boosts Hidden Valley to 20-2 on the season, as the Colonials drop to 16-2.
First they faced a strong team that had little drop off in the lower seeds.
Second, the Titans played with a philosophy of setting the tone with a tough serve and volley component that the Colonials hadn’t seen all year.
In the final analysis, Jonathan Hartson and Yaser Qazi were able to pull of wins in the top two seeds, but the pairings for seeds 3 through 6 decidedly favored the visitors. In the first set of Hartson’s match he managed to break Sam Burton to love to take a 4-1 lead and went on for the 6-1, 6-1 win. Meanwhile, on court 2, Qazi was taking care of business as well, downing Graham Brown 6-1, 6-3.
“There’s a huge difference between 4-1 and 3-2, so I felt like after I broke him to love it pretty much broke his back. It was tied 1-1 and I think I won eight straight games after that,” Hartson said.
But it was the lower seeds where trouble began and the match ended for the Colonials. It seemed like the pace of each match was being dictated by the Titans. They tended to come to the net a lot, and put pressure on the
Colonials who were used to playing more of a baseline approach. Serve and volley tends toward shorter rallies and putting away points at a faster clip than baseline play. Baseline play tends to be drawn out with long rallies for each point.
“That’s a big thing; we have been working on being aggressive. That kind of play (serve and volley) bothers us at times, so we try to bother other teams with it. We try to set the pace and set the tone for the match. In high school tennis baseline play seems to be the way it’s going, they don’t see serve and volley much anymore,” Hidden Valley Coach Ryan Teague said.
There’s no question the pace and aggressive nature of the serve and volley game had some effect on the lower seed games. All of the bottom four players struggled to come to grips with the different style of play.
Kevin Napier dropped his three seed match 6-1, 6-3 and was moved all over the court by Colin Foutz. In the four seed match, Blake Cox held a 4-3 advantage in the first set, but wound up dropping the match 6-4, 6-3 to James Barron, who also employed a serve and volley attack. Austin Edwards had the best chance to push the singles matches to 3-3, but ended up on the short end of 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 match against Jake Elton. In the sixth seed match, Christian Ekrich knocked off Josh Kim 6-0, 6-2. Hidden Valley closed out the games by winning the third seed doubles with Foutz and Ekrich edging Cox and Kim 6-2, 6-4.
“Definitely for tennis this is our best team. We have never won a regional championship before. It’s good that we are no longer playing the beasts up in Richmond and playing against schools our size. When we play schools our size we are pretty good,” Colonials Coach Mike Smielecki said.
3A State Semi-finals Hidden Valley 5, Colonial Heights 2
Singles: Jonathan Hartson (CH) d. Sam Burton 6-1, 6-1; Yaser Qazi (CH) d. Grant Brown 6-1, 6-3; Colin Foutz (HV) d. Kevin Napier 6-3, 6-0; James Barron (HV) d. Blake Cox 6-4, 6-2; Jake Elton (HV) d. Austin Edwards 6-2, 4-6, 6-2; Christian Ekrich (HV) d. Josh Kim 6-0, 6-2
Doubles: Sam Burton/Jake Elton (HV) v. Jonathan Hartson/Yaser Qazi 6-4 DNF; Grant Brown/James Barron (HV) v. Kevin Napier/Austin Edwards 6-1, 5-0 DNF; Colin Foutz/Christian Ekrich (HV) d. Blake Cox/ Josh Kim 6-2, 6-4
Records: Colonial Heights 16-2, Hidden Valley 20-2