Bexley High School boys tennis coach Mark Liefeld said he couldn’t have written a better final act of the Lions’ season.
His reliable doubles team of Josh Meyer and Leo Schottenstein capped what Liefeld and the Lions admitted they considered an unlikely 3-2 victory over Gates Mills Hawken in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division II state final May 28 at Reynoldsburg.
Meyer and Schottenstein outlasted Hawken’s Sauren Khosla and Ryan Leizman 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-2 at first doubles.
“They have been our mainstay all year long,” Liefeld said, noting that Meyer and Schottenstein lost only one match all season. “For the match to come down to that court, I couldn’t have set it up any better. I told them before the third set that this was exactly what we had hoped for.”
Bexley, which was making its first state team appearance since 2012, also got wins from Christian Roddy at second singles, 7-5, 6-4 over Neil Levari, and the second-doubles team of Noah Hoffman and Aaron Young, who swept Ander Garcia and Michael Lee 6-1, 6-4.
“Going into this year, I just did not think that we would be here. That’s what makes this so special,” Schottenstein said. “Getting that win at second doubles was huge.”
Hawken won first singles, where Stephanie Shulman edged Mark Nudelman 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, and third singles, where Josef Horwarth beat Jordan Koppes 7-5, 6-2.
Bexley defeated Ottawa Hills 3-1 in a semifinal.
New Albany made program history by finishing second in Division I, losing 3-0 to Hunting Valley University School in the final after a 3-1 win over Toledo St. John’s in a semifinal.
University School swept the doubles courts, as Alex Cash and Chris Mathes lost to Danny Godes and Tyler Krantz 6-0, 6-3 and Alek Jacoby and Ben Yan fell to Charlie Joranka and Chas Norman 6-3, 6-1, and also won at third singles as Drew Krantz defeated New Albany’s Graeme Green 6-3, 6-0.
The Eagles, who were third in the tournament last year, finished 15-3.
“It wasn’t that we left anything on the court,” coach Marc Thomas said. “We played our hearts out and played a really great team in the final. Sometimes you just have to learn from these experiences. Hopefully next year, we’re going to come back strong.”