Kent Seitz and Sean Stein of the Dublin Jerome High School boys tennis team have combined their different playing styles to become one of the most successful doubles teams in the state.

Kent Seitz and Sean Stein of the Dublin Jerome High School boys tennis team have combined their different playing styles to become one of the most successful doubles teams in the state.

Stein has a strong top serve-and-volley game, and Seitz is a powerful baseline hitter.

However, Seitz said it's going to be crucial that both players are aggressive and finish shots at the net when the duo competes in the Division I state tournament on Friday and Saturday, May 27-28, at Hilliard Davidson. They will open against North Canton Hoover's Nick Fockler and Justin Carpenter, who finished fifth in the Northeast District.

As the first Jerome players to compete in the state tournament, Seitz and Stein went 2-2 and placed fourth in doubles last year.

"Sean's game is serve-and-volley and I'm more of a baseline player, but our styles complement each other in doubles because Sean has a great serve and I have a good return," Seitz said. "Sean's better at the net, but we both try to get to the net as much as possible because it's important to control the net, especially when you're playing other aggressive doubles teams. We'll definitely need to play well at the net to win matches in the state tournament."

Seitz and Stein utilized their aggressive style to become the Celtics' first district champions on May 21 at Davidson. The duo beat Upper Arlington's Stu Little and Billy Weldon 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a semifinal and UA's Eric Vannatta and Nate Wallace 6-4, 7-5 in the final.

Little and Weldon, the defending state doubles champions, went 3-0 against Seitz and Stein last season.

"Sean and Kent bucked their trend by getting out to a fast start against Stu and Billy," coach Aaron Bauer said. "I felt good about Sean and Kent's chances going into it, because two of the three matches with UA were really close last year. The final was a really good match, too. Either of those matches could have gone either way, but Sean and Kent won the big points when they needed to. I wouldn't be surprised to see both of Upper Arlington's teams reach the (state) semifinals."

Seitz said it's important to continue playing error-free tennis.

"Good teams don't make lots of mistakes, so we want to limit our unforced errors and make our first serves and returns. We have some experience playing at state and hopefully we can use that experience to our advantage."

Jerome junior Frank Kuo went 1-1 at district, beating Grove City's Joey Hemphill 6-2, 6-3 and losing to New Albany's Steve Miller 6-0, 6-1 in a state-qualifying match.

"Frank played well," Bauer said. "Hemphill does a good job of keeping the ball in play, but Joey was patient and finished his chances when he got them. Frank's match with Steve was closer than the score would indicate, but Steve was the better player."

Coffman junior Hiromi Nakayama went 3-1 and placed second to advance to state for the third consecutive year.

Nakayama beat New Albany's Sean Yun 6-3, 6-2 in a state qualifier and Gahanna's Jesse Shivener 7-6, 6-3 in a semifinal, but lost to Thomas Worthington's Casey Cempre 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

"The tournament was really tough for me because I hurt my ankle ... last week," Nakayama said. "But I'm happy that I could finish (second). I think the match against Sean Yun was the toughest match for me in the district because I was nervous, because I needed to win that match to qualify for state and he played really well. I (won) that match because I concentrated and played very patient."

Nakayama lost in the first round at state the past two seasons.

"I'm very happy about making state three years in a row," Nakayama said. "I lost at first round both freshman year and last year, so I want to win at least one match this time. I have to do everything perfect to win matches at state. Also, I need (some) luck."

Nakayama will open against Cleveland St. Ignatius' James Oliver, the fourth-place finisher in the Northeast District.

The doubles team of Leon Cai and Jack Buchan lost to Olentangy Liberty's Mitchell Lothes and Alexander Hathaway 6-4, 6-4 in the first round at district.