WIAA boys tennis preview
Catholic Memorial's Mirsberger brothers take their fight to state meet
Matt Mirsberger (left) and his brother, Mike, are aiming for a state title in their last year together playing doubles for Catholic Memorial. They finished third at state last year.
So two summers ago, the Catholic Memorial students got a friend to be a line judge. He was a neighbor who was at a match when one of the Mirsbergers walked off the court because of a dispute.
"He offered to bring a little ladder," Matt said.
So there he was, sitting court-side atop a ladder to keep the brothers in check.
"We still argued," Matt said. "I thought it worked, but Mike claimed there was a little bias in the line judge. It was funny to have him but it didn't solve a lot of issues."
This weekend is the last chance for the two to play as doubles partners, as Matt, a senior, and Mike, a junior, compete in the Division 2 state championships in Madison.
"They're very competitive, but in the end they're best of buddies," said their father, Mark Mirsberger.
Matt played No. 3 singles as a freshman and then moved to doubles his sophomore year to play with Mike.
"It never really crossed my mind, I don't think, until freshman year," Mike said. "I hadn't given it too much thought."
The Mirsbergers advanced to the second round of the 2011 tournament and then finished third at state last season for a combined record of 35-4 the first two years.
"The pros (of playing together) is we're so close as brothers, we just understand each other and sort of see the game through similar eyes, I guess you could say," Mike said. "I understand what my brother would do in certain situations. The cons, whether we win or lose sometimes doesn't matter. It's always a match between the brothers. Whoever plays better can blame the other one for the loss."
Like last season at state, the Mirsbergers are seeded third. They own a 17-1 record and it's their last chance to win a state title together. Their father won a doubles championship for Wauwatosa West in 1981.
"It was a special time," Mark said. "But we weren't the best players in the state. As I told them, it takes some luck and magic. Sometimes the best team wins and sometimes the hot team wins. We were the hot team.
"I've really made sure there's no pressure on them. Enjoy it, go out as brothers, as partners. If they can put some magic together, that'd be special."
Memorial coach Carl Veenendaal also won a state doubles championship for Tosa West in 1976 and '77.
"They're perfect kids," Veenendaal said. "They're exceptional kids that come from an exceptional family, so I have no problems whatsoever. They're driven. They're the ones that are doing it. They know what it takes to be good, to be a success. Me as a coach, I don't have to do much for those two kids."