On a hot, steamy weekend in New York City, Christian Brothers Academy boys tennis players Colin and Matt Nardella illustrated why they thought it was best to pair up in doubles for the state championship tournament.
Five match victories later, the Nardellas were state champions, the first in CBA tennis history, having done so on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, Queens, annual site of the United States Open.
It all started on Friday morning, as the Nardellas shut out Chris Gray and Brendan Whalen (Plattsburgh) 6-0, 6-0 in the opening round. Then, in the round of 16, Matt and Colin met Logan Toops and Josh Kowalczyk (Webster Thomas) and took a bit longer, but still emerged with a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
Saturday started with a quarterfinal where the Nardellas dominated Marcus Smith and Matt Balilo (Cardozo) 6-1, 6-1, setting up what proved to be the pivotal match of the tournament.
Fox Lane’s duo of Dylan Brittis-Tannenbaum and Nick Simon beat Colin and Matt 6-3 in the first set. Staring at a rare deficit, the Nardellas fought back, won the second set 6-2, and finished off Brittis-Tannenbaum and Simon with another 6-2 decision in the third set.
Having survived that scare, the Nardellas roared through the championship match against Beacon's duo of Maxwell Smith and Lucas Pickering, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to go all the way to the top.
The Fayetteville-Manlius duo of Josh Druger and Dan Miron got into a first-round classic against Cole Gittens and William Trang (Brooklyn Tech), pushing it to a third set before Gittens and Trang prevailed 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. In the consolation bracket, Druger and Miron led early against Tony Zhao and Riley Demerell (Brighton), but again fell in three sets 4-6, 6-0, 10-6.
Neither of Jamesville-DeWitt’s singles players made it out of the first round. Senior Abe Davis ran into Matt Renzi (Pittsford Mendon) and lost a 6-2, 6-1 decision, while Dotterer, a seventh-grader, met Jacob Cooper (Briarcliff) and also fell in straight sets 6-1, 6-1.
Dotterer did beat Jon Selegean (Forest Hills) 6-3, 7-5, in the consolation bracket before a 6-4, 6-1 defeat to Lars Olson (Doane Stuart). As for Davis, he lost his second match to Williamsville East’s Mike Rusk by scores of 7-6 (7-4) and 6-2.