OBERLIN — It’s the one thing most freshmen need to become a championship tennis player: the mental aspect of the game.
It was definitely a factor in why Avon’s Nico Mostardi fell 6-1, 6-0 to top-seeded Nathan Griffin of St. Ignatius in Saturday morning’s Division I sectional final at the Don Hunsinger Courts at Oberlin College.
“He’s got a lot of maturing to do,” Avon coach Art Gibbs said of Mostardi, Lorain County’s lone district qualifier. “He’s got the strokes, he’s got the game, but the mental part is what we work on. His dad wants us coaching him for that reason. We can’t coach him on his strokes or serve. We just work on the mental aspect.”
Mostardi, the second seed, won his semifinal match over St. Edward’s Jeffrey Williams 6-0, 6-3 and broke serve to start the final against Griffin, a sophomore, who defeated his teammate Sean Frebes 6-0, 6-0 in his semifinal.
All four advance to next week’s district tournament, which gets underway Thursday at Oberlin College. Saturday’s matches decided the district seedings.
Despite the fast start, Mostardi gave the advantage right back to Griffin, who wouldn’t lose again. There were times Mostardi was visibly upset with his own play, and he had trouble with his first service attempt throughout the match.
“He gets down on himself and it affects him for two or three points afterward,” Gibbs said. “Once he gets over that, he’ll go up (in competition). He’s got the game. We’re looking for him by his senior year to win a state championship.”
“He’s a tough player,” Griffin said of Mostardi. “I just started grooving a little bit and everything started working. I played very well. He’s a tough player.”
Griffin didn’t do anything particularly fancy but he made Mostardi work hard for any points he did get and rarely made mistakes. Mostardi, although disappointed in his final match, was happy to get the runner-up prize.
“My main goal was to get to the final to make sure I wouldn’t play a one or a two seed right away,” Mostardi said. “That helps my chances (next week) but it didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.
“I thought I had something going (after the first game) but it just wasn’t there.”
“What he wanted was a No. 1 seed,” Gibbs said, “but a No. 2 seed is better than a three or four.
“(Griffin) is a year older. He’s bigger, he’s stronger. He’s got more maturity on the tennis court than Nico does. It’s something his dad and we have been working on all season. That’s our main goal over the next three years — that and to get him a little bigger and a little stronger.”
Westlake’s second-seeded doubles team of Connor Michelich and Cal Craven upset the top-seed team from St. Ignatius — Chad Burton and Yaw Boakye — in three sets for the sectional crown.
The Wildcats’ No. 2 doubles team of Nick Siclliano and Bob Kirchner defeated the Demons’ No. 2 team of Kent Dinchman and Kevin Wang for third place.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Semifinals: Mostardi (Avon) defeated Williams (St. Edward), 6-0, 6-3; Griffin
(St. Ignatius) defeated Frebes (St. Ignatius), 6-0, 6-0.
Championship: Griffin defeated Mostardi, 6-1, 6-0.
Consolation: Frebes defeated Williams, 7-6, 6-0.
Semifinals: St. Ignatius (Christian Zuber and Yaw Boakye) defeated Westlake (Kent Dinchman and Kevin Wang), 6-4, 6-4; Westlake (Connor Michelich and Cal Craven) defeated St. Ignatius (Nick Siciliano and Bob Kirchner), 6-3, 6-1.
Championship: Westlake (Michelich and Craven) defeated St. Ignatius (Zuber and Boakye), 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
Consolation: St. Ignatius (Siciliano and Kirchner) defeated Westlake (Dinchman and Wang), 6-1, 6-2.