Competing in their second major tournament in as many weeks, the OTHS boys’ tennis squad bettered their first showing with a second place team finish in the Triad Invitational.
Building on a strong outing in the loaded Edwardsville tourney, the Panther netters got solid efforts from their entire line-up, scoring wins over Sacred Heart Griffin, Carbondale and Belleville West before falling 3-2 to Algonquin Jacobs in the title match.
The Panthers opened with a 5-0 shutout over Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin. Dominic Macaluso set the tone for the match with a dominating performance over Logan Evans. Forcing errors with a wicked serve and volley game. Macaluso rolled to a straight set win 6-0 and 6-0.
Nick Papachrisanthou picked up a win by default in the other singles match, setting the stage for an OTHS sweep of doubles play. Riley Muren and Shree Patel teamed up to blank SHG’s number one duo, 6-0/6-0. Prem Patel and Drake Shreiber were nearly as effective at No. 2 doubles, sweeping to a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Nolan Johnson and Louis Criscione. Adam Spihlman and Quincy Dollison completed the Panthers’ sweep with another 6-0, 6-0 win.
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O’Fallon needed all of their doubles muscle to survive a challenge from Carbondale in the second match of the tournament. Macaluso dropped a highly competitive match to Alex Lescowlie. After winning the first set 6-3, he fell in consecutive sets 3-6 and 6-10. Papachrisanthou was unable to reverse the momentum at No. 2 singles, losing a lop-sided match 0-6 and 1-6. With the team’s back to wall, the OTHS doubles teams came through like champions. Muren and Shree Patel battled their way to a 6-3, 6-3 win. Prem Patel and Shreiber knotted the match with a marathon effort. Patel and Shreiber dispatched their Carbondale opponents fairly efficiently in game one, allowing only two points, but the second series tested the two Panther netters. After struggling early in the match, the OTHS pulled even with the Terrier tandem and eked out a 7-6 win. With the team victory hanging in the balance, Adam Spihlman and Quincy Dollison came through in the clutch, blasting their way to a 6-1 and 6-1 win, giving O’Fallon a 3-2 team victory.
The spirited comeback gave the squad added momentum when they faced off against SWC rival Belleville West. The Maroons could only manage one win – at number two doubles; otherwise it was all O’Fallon. Macaluso and Papachrisanthou roared to identical 6-1, 6-1 wins in singles, with the Panthers’ No. 1 and No. 3 doubles tandems securing hard-fought wins for a 4-1 OTHS win. Muren and Patel survived scares in both sets to defeat Jack Langen and Carter Tastad 7-5 and 6-4. In a nail-biter, Spihlman and Dollison broke a 1-1 deadlock in sets to defeat Sam Calhoun and Austin Quandt with a 10-8 decision in the rubber set of their match. Macaluso finished tourney play with a 3-1 mark by defeating Algonquin Jacobs in a three-set match. Despite losing the first set 3-6, Macaluso rallied to send the match into a third set with a 7-6 victory. In the tie-breaker, he re-established his dominance at the net to claim a 10-4 win. Jacobs took the No. 2 singles match and the No. 3 doubles competitions. Prem Patel and Drake Shreiber gave O’Fallon a shot at the championship trophy with a 6-2, 6-3 win, but Jacobs claimed the tourney title when their No. 3 team out-lasted Spilhman and Dollison in a 10-7 tie-breaking third set.