DENVER | The Regis Jesuit boys tennis team wanted a make a run at knocking off Cherry Creek at the Class 5A state tennis tournament.
The Raiders earned that chance with five semifinals victories Friday at Gates Tennis Center, setting up showdowns with the Bruins in all four doubles championship matches slated for 9 a.m. Saturday.
Regis Jesuit and Cherry Creek each qualified for five finals — one in singles and four in doubles — and the cumulative outcome of those matches could decide the state title, which would be the first for the Raiders since 2010 or the seventh straight for the Bruins.
Fairview will also be in the mix, especially given the Knights made it into all three singles finals. The three teams go into the final day separated by just two points, with Fairview sitting at 61, Cherry Creek at 60 and Regis Jesuit at 59.
Raiders coach Laura Jones knows her team has its hands full on the final day, but is pleased to have a chance.
“We’re kindof in charge of our own destiny now,” Jones said. “Let’s see what we do with that opportunity.”
Regis Jesuit’s opportunity to win grew with the victory of junior Kosta Garger at No. 2 singles, as he outlasted longtime friend Ben Murray of Cherry Creek 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in a dramatic semifinal.
Garger qualified for his second career championship match — he played in the No. 3 doubles final as a freshman in 2015 — and assured himself of becoming the first Raiders’ singles player to place at the state tournament since Chanon Penvari took fourth in No. 2 singles in 2012.
He will face Fairview’s Ethan Schacht, who won when they met in the Cherry Creek Invitational when Garger had to pull out of the third set due to cramps.
Freshman No. 3 singles player Phillip Albright also took his opponent from Cherry Creek to three sets in the semifinals, but he ended up on the wrong end of a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 victory for the Bruins’ George Cavo.
Albright rebounded to make the third-place match and could gain some key points with a win.
Regis Jesuit’s freshman No. 1 singles player, Morgan Schilling, got a playback chance, but lost in straight sets to Heritage’s Jack Alexander.
For the second straight season, Regis Jesuit earned its way into all four doubles championship matches.
Seniors Will Dennen and Patrick Seby moved into the No. 1 doubles final with a 6-2, 6-2 semifinal win over Boulder’s Will Enterline and Hans Callanan that they thought set them up well to go against Cherry Creek’s Sam Angell and Drew Hill for the state title.
Junior Evan Nuss and sophomore Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz put some struggles from an opening round match on Thursday behind them and methodically moved into the No. 2 double state championship match, which they won last season.
Nuss and Gonzalez-Cruz handled Broomfield’s Cameron Lupo and Charlie Vanderberg 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals to set up a meeting with Cherry Creek’s Stone Heyman and Nick Eidler.
Seniors Matthew McCarthy and Gabe Caldwell-Nepveux overcame a mid-match lull to make it through to their second straight No. 3 state championship match together, where they will oppose Cherry Creek’s Zach Smith and Nick Svichar.
Seniors Matthew Mahoney and James O’Connor lost the first set of their No. 4 doubles semifinal to Denver East — the same scenario as last season — and rallied to win the final two sets and qualify for their second straight 5A final.
Mahoney and O’Connor face Cherry Creek’s Tyler Schoen and Devin Brownstein.
GRANDVIEW: The Wolves’ two singles state qualifiers — No. 2 Ilijah Bailey and No. 3 Matthew Yan — both held out hopes of playback chances as the opponents they lost to could have brought them back in with semifinal victories.
Neither got that chance, however. Bailey won his first match Thursday before suffered a three-set defeat to Broomfield junior Giovanni Intermesoli. Intermesoli’s straight sets loss to Fairview’s Ethan Schacht eliminated Bailey.
Yan’s hopes rested on the play of Regis Jesuit freshman Phillip Albright, who battled Cherry Creek’s George Cavo before losing in three sets.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT
Team scores: 1. Fairview 61 points; 2. Cherry Creek 60; 3. REGIS JESUIT 59; T4. Broomfield 20; T4. Boulder 20; 6. Chatfield 15; 7. Ponderosa 12; 8. Denver East 10; 9. Mountain Range 9; 10. Fossil Ridge 6; T11. Grand Junction 4; T11. Mountain Vista 4; T13. Arapahoe 3; T13. Rocky Mountain 3; T15. Rock Canyon 2; T15. Heritage 2; T17. GRANDVIEW 1; T17. Ralston Valley 1; T17. Fruita Monument 1; T17. Poudre 1
Championship matches, Oct. 14 at Gates Tennis Center
No. 1 singles — Tommy Melville, sr. (Fairview) vs. Christian Holmes, jr. (Chatfield); No. 2 singles — KOSTA GARGER, JR. (REGIS JESUIT) vs. Ethan Schacht, sr. (Fairview); No. 3 singles — Andy Wu, jr. (Fairview) vs. George Cavo, fr. (Cherry Creek); No. 1 doubles — WILL DENNEN/PATRICK SEBY (REGIS JESUIT) vs. Sam Angell/Drew Hill (Cherry Creek); No. 2 doubles — EMILIO GONZALEZ-CRUZ/EVAN NUSS (REGIS JESUIT) vs. Stone Heyman/Nick Eidler (Cherry Creek); No. 3 doubles — MATTHEW MCCARTHY/GABE CALDWELL-NEPVEUX (REGIS JESUIT) vs. Zach Smith/Nick Svichar (Cherry Creek); No. 4 doubles — MATTHEW MAHONEY/JAMES O’CONNOR (REGIS JESUIT) vs. Tyler Schoen/Devin Brownstein (Cherry Creek)