2014 DICK ARNOLD TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP
CMH single(s)-handedly wins
Crusaders sweep singles to edge Arrowhead for conference championship
WAUKESHA – In one word, “unbelievable.”
In two words, Tournament Champs.
The words were loud and clear Saturday afternoon after the Catholic Memorial High School boys tennis team won the 2014 Dick Arnold Tennis Championships – the Classic 8 Conference Tournament.
Memorial swept the four singles titles and won the tournament with 33 points – one better than 32 points by Arrowhead. Muskego finished third with 22.5, Waukesha South fourth with 19.5, Kettle Moraine fifth with 16.5. Waukesha West (10.5), Waukesha North (8.5) and Mukwonago (8) rounded out the field.
“Unbelievable,” Memorial coach Carl Veenendaal said. “There’s no way I thought we were going to win this. I knew it would be a horse race between four teams and that everyone could do damage to everyone else. Today was a wonderful day.”
Memorial’s wonderful singles performance started when junior Christian Erickson won a rematch of last year’s final over Mitch Pralle of Arrowhead 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 3 single match.
“It feels really good to turn it around against him,” said Erickson, undefeated in conference meets and the topseeded No. 3. “I was too offensive-minded last year. I played much smarter tennis this year and I was able to keep the ball in play and wait for my shot.”
Next up, CMH sophomore Tommy Matoska brought in a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Arrowhead junior Charlie Sprinkman in the No. 2 singles finale. Matoska, who lost in the finals last year, said his net game was the difference Saturday.
“Sometimes I have to play a little more conservative and sometimes a little more aggressive,” said Matoska, who defeated Sprinkman in the teams’ dual meet earlier in May. “Today, it was a combination of chipping and coming to the net. My net game was my advantage in all of matches today.”
Meanwhile, Memorial’s senior David Verbockel and Arrowhead junior Dylan Enyeart split the first two sets before Verbockel pulled out a 10-8 in the tiebreaker at No. 4 singles – the Crusaders’ third championship round victory.
That’s when all eyes focused on the No. 1 singles match between top-seeded KM junior Chayce Roecker and No. 2 seeded CMH senior Mike Mirsberger. After Roecker took the opening set 7-5, Mirsberger battled back to claim the second set 6-3 and the thrilling tiebreaker 10-8.
“Chayse put up a great fight and there were a lot of great points,” Mirsberger said. “I played a lot smarter than before. I made a lot of unforced errors the first time we played (2-6, 0-6) and just made sure I didn’t miss as much. I hit more to his backhand. He can really pound the ball so I tried to take some pace off and keep the ball in play.”
“Mike deserves it – he’s been second for the past three years so he finally he got his first place,” Veenendaal said. “Now it’s Mirsberger and Matoska’s turn at state. They’re playing together as doubles and I think it’s their year, their turn.”
Mirsberger and his brother Matt were runners up in doubles at the state tournament last season.
Seniors Ben Ziolkowski and Josh Taylor of Muskego, the top seed, combined for a 6-0, 7-6 win over the No. 1 doubles over Arrowhead’s team of seniors Jacob Hentges and John Zanotti.
Both Ziolkowski and Taylor won in doubles in the tournament last year with different partners.
“We worked a lot in the off-season to get on the same level and know each other’s games – and it paid off,” Ziolkowski said. “Josh has a much bigger presence at the net. He puts away a lot of shots that my other partners couldn’t. It’s a relief to win but moving forward we have to keep up the pressure and keep practicing and carry this momentum into state.”
“My partner last year didn’t have quite as big as a serve as Ben has,” Taylor said. “I like to place his big serve in any spot he wants. I know the other side doesn’t like it and they pop it right back to me and kaboom.”
Waukesha South’s doubles team of Danny Perez and Al Tejada won the No. 2 honors while Arrowhead junior Joey Dittman and senior Nick Griffin claimed the No. 3 doubles title.
Photo credit: Catholic Memorial senior Mike Mirsberger competes in the second round against Kettle Moraine junior Chayce Roecker at No. 1 singles in the 2014 Dick Arnold Classic 8 Conference tournament on Saturday at Woyahn Tennis Complex in Waukesha. Robert F. Borkowski/Special to The Freeman