The New Albany and Upper Arlington high school boys tennis teams poured onto an empty court May 21 at UA as the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district final wound down, and underscoring the importance of the remaining two matches, constantly looked back and forth between them.
In the end, the Eagles squeaked out a 3-1 win that sent them to their third consecutive OTCA state tournament when the second-doubles team of Dev Vasani and Ben Yan edged Elliot Jones and Hunter Triplett 7-6, 7-5.
The OTCA state tournament is May 27 at Reynoldsburg. New Albany, which improved to 15-0, is the first team to qualify.
“There are only a couple other tennis rivalries that are like this one,” Eagles coach Marc Thomas said. “It’s a lot of emotion with great players on both sides. There’s always a lot riding on it. It’s a special match and I feel fortunate that we have a lot of guys stepping up. Beating Upper Arlington in a district final is not something we take lightly.”
New Albany’s other wins came from Robert Cash, who defeated Josh Cole 6-3, 6-1 at first singles, and Nathan Jose, who shut out Paige Kompa 6-0, 6-0 at second singles.
UA’s Emerson Dean and Nathan Yu swept Alek Jacoby and Alex Wagman 6-4, 6-2 at first doubles.
The third-singles match between New Albany’s Devin Boyer and UA’s Will Reynolds was in progress when Vasani and Yan won, and by OTCA rules did not have to be completed.
“I came out smart and didn’t make too many dumb errors,” Cash said. “I played consistent and stuck to my basics. I didn’t have to do anything too special to get the job done.”
UA finished 11-4.
New Albany placed second in the OTCA state tournament last year and third in 2016.