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High School Sports

High school tennis: Avon Lake understudies come out on top as Shoremen win LCAAA without many of top players


AVON LAKE — Talk about passing the test.

Despite missing two of its top players because they had to take the ACT and two others because they were competing in a track meet, the Avon Lake Shoremen still found a way to win the Lorain County Athletic Administrators Association boys tennis tournament Saturday at Avon Lake High School.

The Shoremen swept the doubles championships and were runners-up at second and third singles to edge Avon 35-34 and reclaim the title after Lake Ridge won it a year ago.

“My guys played great this weekend,” Avon Lake coach Adam Slabodnick said after the Shoremen’s fourth LCAAA title in the last five seasons. “This reminds me of my first year coaching, where we had a young team that didn’t win any championships, but we reached the finals in all five categories. We told the guys, ‘We might be missing five of our top 10 guys, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a chance.’”

With seniors James Darkow and Tim Villari at a track meet and juniors Austin Rice and Matt Duskey taking the ACT, Slabodnick shuffled his lineup and called on a couple of JV players to help get the job done.

Avon won the first and third singles championships and took second at the doubles spots to finish a point out of first for the second straight year. Lake Ridge finished third with 31 points.

Slabodnick credited several matches in Friday’s opening round as being key factors in the run to the title, including Robert Hoffman’s 7-6 (7-6), 3-6, 6-3 quarterfinal win over Avon’s Oliver Burger.

“That really was the major point difference between Avon and us,” he said. “Robert’s a kid that is more suited for third singles, but we asked him to move up and he’s always done what’s best for the team.”

Parker MacDonald, who moved up to first singles, finished fourth behind two-time champion Nico Mostardi of Avon, three-time district qualifier and runner-up Caleb Mayer of Lake Ridge and former LCAAA runner-up Cory Habecker of Amherst.

Mostardi didn’t drop a game in his three matches.

“It’s a lot better conditions this year, and that helped,” Mostardi said. “It was snowing at last year’s tournament. There was no wind and no distractions. I was just able to play my normal game.”

Lake Ridge’s Roger Peckham downed Hoffman 6-3, 6-4 to become a three-time LCAAA singles champion and a repeat winner at second singles.

“Today I didn’t think I was playing that well,” Peckham said. “My elbow was hurting a bit, but I thought I could have played better. There weren’t any surprises here. Even though I struggled a bit, I got the job done.

“It feels pretty good to become a three-time champion here. I wish I would have won it my sophomore year so I could have been a four-time champ, but whatever.”

Avon Lake was able to keep its first doubles team intact and sophomores Matt Sladek and Oliver Wilhelm took first in their first LCAAA tourney, downing Avon’s Navi Baskar and Austin Williams 6-0, 6-3 in the final.

“Avon put up a good fight against us, but we’ve won every match so far and we were able to seal the deal,” Wilhelm said. “Winning this shows Avon Lake has a great reputation and sheds a good light on how we are as tennis players.”

Freshman Austin Goetz moved up from JV to replace Duskey at second doubles. With only a handful of practices to work on chemistry, Goetz and sophomore James Moore went 3-0, defeating Avon’s William Alexander and Spencer Yates 6-4, 6-1 in the finals to essentially clinch the title for the Shoremen.

“It took a lot of hard work,” Goetz said.

Avon junior Chance Nicklaus ended the tournament with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Avon Lake’s Ryan Stonecipher to claim the third singles championship and make the final standings so close.

Stonecipher, a JV call-up, also had a big quarterfinal win, downing Lake Ridge’s Chris Miller 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 in a match that had to be finished Saturday morning. Stonecipher rallied from 4-1 down in the second set to tie it at 5 before play was suspended Friday due to darkness.

“He came over on the changeover and said, ‘I got this, coach,’” Slabodnick said. “Our team rallied around him and he fed off it and it was amazing. If we didn’t have that win at third singles, knocking Lake Ridge down to the back draw, it could have been a different tournament.”

Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or

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TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Avon Lake 35, 2. Avon 34, 3. Lake Ridge 31, 4. Elyria 19, 5. North Ridgeville 16, 6. (tie) Oberlin, Vermilion 14, 25, 8. Amherst 13, 9. Midview 4.


Championship: Nico Mostardi (Avon) def. Caleb Mayer (Lake Ridge), 6-0, 6-0. Third: Cory Habecker (Amherst) def. Parker MacDonald (Avon Lake), 8-2. Fifth: Jeff Emilio (Elyria) def. Claudia Olaes (Oberlin), 8-6. Seventh: Colin Pawlowski (Vermilion) def. Eric Oster (North Ridgeville), 8-7 (3). Ninth: Chris Andre de la Porte (Midview) by default. Semifinals: Mayer def. MacDonald, 6-1, 6-0; Mostardi def. Habecker, 6-0, 6-0. Quarterfinals: Mayer def. Olaes, 6-2, 6-2; MacDonald def. Oster, 6-2, 6-3; Habecker def. Emilio, 6-1, 6-1; Mostardi def. Pawlowski, 6-0, 6-0. First Round: Pawlowski def. de la Porte, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.


Championship: Roger Peckham (Lake Ridge) def. Robert Hoffman (Avon Lake), 6-3, 6-4. Third: Brian Priore (North Ridgeville) def. Drew Dawson (Vermilion), 8-2. Fifth: Oliver Burger (Avon) def. Scott Peggs (Elyria), 8-1. Seventh: Noah Frantz (Oberlin) def. George McGuire (Amherst), 8-2. Ninth: Ken Specker (Midview) won by default. Semifinals: Peckham def. Priore, 6-0, 6-1; Hoffman def. Dawson, 6-0, 6-0. Quarterfinals: Peckham def. Peggs, 6-1, 6-0; Priore def. Frantz, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2); Dawson def. McGuire, 6-3, 6-1; Hoffman def. Burger, 7-6 (7-6), 3-6, 6-3.


Championship: Chance Nicklaus (Avon) def. Ryan Stonecipher (Avon Lake), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Third: Stephen Bickford (North Ridgeville) def. Reilly McInerney (Oberlin) by default. Fifth: Chris Miller (Lake Ridge) def. Logan Perkins (Elyria), 8-5. Seventh: Seth Ansell (Vermilion) def. Chad Cecil (Amherst), 8-7 (4-3). Ninth: Evan Bishop (Midview) won by default. Semifinals: Nicklaus def. McInerney by default; Stonecipher def. Bickford, 6-2, 6-0. Quarterfinals: McInerney def. Cecil, 6-0, 6-1; Nicklaus def. Perkins, 6-2, 6-0; Bickford def. Ansell, 6-1, 6-0; Stonecipher def. Miller, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.


Championship: Matt Sladek-Oliver Wilhelm (Avon Lake) def. Navi Baskar-Austin Williams (Avon), 6-0, 6-3. Third: Henry Lin-Jesse Krislov (Lake Ridge) def. Kyle McNickle-Zach Thompson (Elyria), 8-3. Fifth: Tom Wynne-Jason Grau (Midview) def. Spencer Machesky-Jordan Kneisel (Amherst), 8-3. Seventh: Matt Hall-Joe Scott (North Ridgeville) def. Cameron Schroth-Ryanne Fury (Oberlin), 8-2. Ninth: Alex Olejko-Ryan Myracle (Vermilion) won by default. Semifinals: Baskar-Williams def. Lin-Krislov, 6-4, 6-4; Sladek-Wilhelm def. McNickle-Thompson, 6-0, 6-0. Quarterfinals: Lin-Krislov def. Machesky-Kneisel, 6-2, 6-4; Baskar-Williams def. Hall-Scott, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3; McNickle-Thompson def. Schroth-Fury, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1; Sladek-Wilhelm def. Wynne-Grau, 6-4, 6-2. First round: Wynne-Grau def. Olejko-Myracle, 6-0, 6-3.


Championship: James Moore-Austin Goetz (Avon Lake) def. William Alexander-Spencer Yates (Avon), 6-4, 6-1. Third: Varun Kumar-Quinn Sekrath (Lake Ridge) def. Stasio Gibbons-Bryan Olejko (Vermilion), 8-6. Fifth: Chris Klesta-Alex Tester (Elyria) def. Kristin Sherrod-Fayza Rahman (Oberlin), 8-4. Seventh: Robert Montgomery-Tyler Rakar (Amherst) def. Lauren Marflake-Brandon Vocaire (North Ridgeville), 8-6. Ninth: Nick Chambers-Eric Decaire (Midview) won by default. Semifinals: Moore-Goetz def. Kumar-Sekrath, 6-1, 6-2; Alexander-Yates def. Gibbons-Olejko, 8-6. Quarterfinals: Kumar-Sekrath def. Montgomery-Rakar, 6-1, 6-2; Moore-Goetz def. Klesta-Tester, 6-1, 6-0; Gibbons-Olejko def. Marflake-Vocaire, 6-4, 6-2; Alexander-Yates def. Sherrod-Rahman, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2). First round: Alexander-Yates def. Chambers-Decaire, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).

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