Midwest Repeats at USTA Boys Team Championship
by Marcia Frost, 3 August 2014
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The calendar might say 2014, but everything looked the same as last year at the USTA Boys' 18 Team Championship at the University of Illinois in Urbana. The Atkins Tennis Center was once again lit brightly by the sun on a perfect 75 degree day, the Midwest team beat the Southern team, and Northern California repeated as third place winners.
Southern came into the team event with three players from last year, Korey Lovett
, Trey Yates
, and Robert Kelly
. They also garnered top seeding this year, but the matches were not easy ones - especially from the two California teams. Half of the matches in the semi-final with Northern California went three sets and they seemed to have taken their toll.
Midwest, on the other hand, started off as number two. They had plenty of local support, especially since Aron Hiltzik, who had also played this event last year, will be playing college tennis on the Illini courts in the fall. Two out of the first three rounds the team played ended 7-0 in their favor and the third was a 6-1 finish. They were ready to make it four in a row.
The final started first thing in the morning with doubles, played in college format and as exciting as any intercollegiate event would be. While court two was all Southern (the only two games won by the Midwest didn't come until their opponents were ready to take it at 7-0), the other courts were most definitely up for grabs.
On the third court, Midwest's Vincent Lin and Sameer Kumar looked like they had things under control with a 4-1 lead, but Southern's Anudeep Kodali and Michael Kay quickly caught up, evening the score to 4-4. Fortunately for the home region Lin and Kumar were able to get back on track for an 8-4 win, making it 1-1.
Meanwhile on the first court, Martin Joyce and Paul Oosterbaan were having similar problems to their teammates. They had dropped their 5-2 lead to the Southern team of Lovett and Kelly. After losing three games, they managed to pull it out and give the Midwest the doubles point.