Tigers extend their outright SWC boys tennis reign

News-DemocratMay 17, 2014 

— With a third straight outright Southwestern Conference title on the line, the Edwardsville Tigers didn't falter Saturday at the Edwardsville Tennis Complex.

Putting the finishing touch on an impressive SWC career, Edwardsville senior Brandon Harris swept to an easy 6-1, 6-1 win over Aaron Skaer of Belleville East in the No. 1 singles final to lead the way, as the Tigers breezed to the team championship.

A four-year starter and one of the top players in Edwardsville history, Harris broke the serve of Skaer twice in the first set then continued to dominate the Lancers senior in the second set.

When Skaer hit a forehand return into the net on match point, Harris had one of four singles titles won by the Tigers on Saturday.

Jack Desse, Jonathan Koons and freshman Erik Weiler also won matches for the Tigers, who had swept the three doubles flights Friday.

"We knew we had to come out and play tough and we did that today. Brandon's been around and he went out and played a very strong match,'' Tigers assistant coach Jamaal Heavens said. "Overall, I thought we played well both days. With our strong rivalry with Bellevlle East we needed to do that.''

The title also marks the 13th straight year Edwardsville has gained at least a share of the SWC championship.

Heavens was filling in for coach David Lipe, who was in Boca Raton, Fla. this weekend, attending a United States Tennis Association seminar for a Futures Tournament, which is held in Edwardsville during the summer.

The Tigers didn't miss a beat as they won seven of nine flights and finished with 70 points, five more than East (65). Alton (50), Belleville West (45) and O'Fallon (41) rounded out the top five teams.

Desse won the No. 2 singles flight, beating Chase Stumne of East 6-2, 6-1. Koons defeated Spencer Smith of East 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 5 flight. Weiler crushed Jackson Scheiter of Alton 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 6 singles final.

East sophomore Kobi Phillips and junior Jacob Hamilton won the Nos. 3 and No. 4 singles flights. Phillips beat Logan Ware of Edwardsville 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 3 final. Hamilton defeated Zach Bryant of Edwardsville 6-1, 6-4 in the No. 4 division.

"I'm pleased. We're right where I want us to be in terms of our level of play heading into the (Belleville East) sectional next week,'' Lancers coach Dan Skaer said. "I wish we played Edwardsville every week. This kind of competition only makes you better.

"I knew we had an uphill battle this weekend. I thought we had a great shot at the (Nos.) 3 through 5 singles and we won two of those. Their player (Koons) played a great match at No. 5. And last night (Friday) we were very close to winning two out of three in doubles and we ended up losing all three. We were right there.''

Ware and Desse of Edwardsville defeated Hamilton and Stumne of East 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 in the No. 1 doubles final. Bryant and Koons of Edwardsville defeated Aaron Skaer and Phillips 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the No. 2 doubles final.

Harris and Weiler defeated the Lancers combination of Nick Spitze and Spencer Smith 6-2, 6-3 in the No. 3 doubles final.

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