BOYS TENNIS So close: Canfield just misses state title
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
COLUMBUS -- The Canfield High doubles team of Shalin Shah and Chris Kuppler may not return next season.
If the duo is broken up, at least the Cardinals will have something to remember it by.
Shah and Kuppler placed second in the Division I state tennis tournament after losing to Cincinnati Walnut Hill's Eric Thomas and Jonathan Khoury 6-3, 6-3 in the title match Saturday at Ohio State's Stickney Center.
In falling one victory shy of the state title, Shah and Kuppler recorded the best finish ever by a Canfield boys doubles team.
Getting there: The Cardinals advanced to the final match by defeating Worthington Kilbourne's Mike Hays and Rony Sinhart 6-0, 6-2. However, Walnut Hill's Thomas and Khoury ended their run.
"We were on our game both matches," Canfield coach Larry Davis said.
"We jumped out to a good start [against Kilbourne] and buried them," he said. "We played very aggressive and [Kilbourne] just never got off the ground."
Davis said Walnut Hill's Thomas took over the championship match, and Canfield could never recover.
"Eric Thomas stole the show," Davis said. "He controlled the match. Anywhere you were going to hit the ball, that's where he was. He had great anticipation, great hands. Basically, we couldn't get anything by him. He was the player of the tournament in my mind."
Shah, a junior, and Kuppler, a sophomore, didn't team up until the tournament, instead focusing on their singles games. But, in making their tournament run, they finished with a 10-1 record in doubles play.
Another focus: That success may not duplicate itself, because Shah and Kuppler may focus on their singles play next season, Davis said.
"They both stand a good chance to make it to state," Davis said.
"Playing doubles has helped their singles game," he added. "They're more comfortable moving to the net. Ultimately, it improves their singles game, as well."
Canfield has another opportunity in state competition today as the Cardinals face Worthington Kilbourne in a coaches event. A win advances the Cardinals into a state title match.
The Ursuline doubles team of sophomore Brian Meek and senior Todd Wojtkowski placed fourth Saturday after losing to Elyria Catholic's Michael Herrick and Jake Dowdell 6-4, 6-1 in the third-place match.
Meek and Wojtkowski lost their semifinal match 6-7 (7-1), 6-3, 7-5 to Cincinnati Indian Hill's Brian Compton and Mike Compton.
Statewide: Derrick Spice, a junior from Grafton Midview, successfully defended his Div. I singles title by defeating Scott Green, a junior from North Canton Hoover, 6-2, 6-3 in the championship match.
In Div. II singles, senior Jason Zimmerman of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy won the championship by beating sophomore Jeremy Miller of Sandusky St. Mary's 6-4, 6-0.
Columbus Wellington won the Div. II doubles championship after Zack Fayne and Brian Steginsky beat the Compton brothers 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.