Middle-of-the-pack finishes in six of the seven flights in last weekend’s Southwestern Conference tennis tournament netted the OTHS boys team third place in the final standings. Edwardsville blasted its way to a 10th consecutive league tournament championship with 71 team points. Belleville East was the closest challenger with 61 points. The Panthers ending the competition with 52.
The best OTHS effort was produced by Adam Spihlman, playing No. 4 singles. The Panther netter ended the two-day competition with a second-place medal. Spihlman opened with a convincing 6-3, 6-1 victory over Brian Ames of Granite City and survived a stiff challenge against Belleville East’s Cam Cagas 7-6,7-6 to advance to the flight title match. Facing off against Edwardsville’s Seth Lipe, Spihlman could not get on track, losing in straight sets.
Four of the remaining five O’Fallon entries completed tournament play in third place. In singles, Niko Papachrisanthou (No. 1), and Drake Shreiber (No. 3) won their final matches after absorbing semi-final losses. Papachrisanthou battled back in his third-place match after dropping a 6-1 decision in the first set. The OTHS netter turned the tables on Belleville West’s Drew Boyles with a 6-4 second set victory and completed the comeback with a nail-biting 13-11 win in the final set.
Shreiber’s third-place finish was accomplished with wins over Alton’s Adam Kane and Belleville West’s Derek Henke with his lone loss coming against Edwardsville’s Alex Gray.
Papachrisanthou and Shreiber teamed up to earn another third-place medal in No. 2 doubles. The Panther tandem cruised to an easy straight-set win over Collinsville in first-round action but were temporarily derailed by a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Skaer and Pickard of Belleville East. The OTHS duo rebounded quickly to finish the tourney on a positive note, defeating Quandt and Firestone 6-3 and 6-4 in the third-place match.
Adam Spihlman and Chase Holland accounted for O’Fallon’s fourth and final third-place medal. An opening round win over Granite City was followed by a narrow 6-4, 6-4 loss to Friedman and McQueen of Belleville East, but the Panther netters finished on a positive note, breezing to a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Alton.
The O’Fallon scoring also included two fourth-place finishes. Quincy Dollison was fourth at No. 3 singles. The No. 1 doubles team of Dollison and Matt Spradling placed fourth, dropping two consecutive matches after an opening round win over Collinsville.
The Panthers will now prepare to host the IHSA sectional tournament this Saturday, May 20. Teams competing for the right to advance to the state finals include: Alton, Belleville East, Belleville West, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Granite City, and Springfield.