116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY – The Linn-Mar boys' tennis team enjoyed its No. 1 ranking all season but knew validation would come only against the Trojan juggernaut.
Linn-Mar broke a 3-3 tie with two wins in doubles play and snapped second-ranked Iowa City West's 68-dual win streak, 5-4, Friday at the West High tennis courts.
'I didn't really know what the feeling would be like until after we won,” Linn-Mar Coach Chris Wundram said. 'It feels really, really good. They've been a monster for three, four years.”
The dual was a rematch of last year's state championship, won 5-2 by West. It could very well be a preview of this year's state championship as well.
The win clinches a Mississippi Valley Conference division title for Linn-Mar (15-0, 12-0 MVC), its sixth in the last seven years. This year, however, they were paired in the same division as Iowa City West, the three-time defending state champions that had not lost since the 2011 state championship.
'It's pretty big,” senior Ben Myers said. 'Three years running, we hadn't beat them yet. 68-win streak. 5-4 is pretty close. It could have gone either way.”
With both teams and a boisterous standing-room-only crowd looking on, Myers and doubles partner Shane Skvor clinched the dual with a pressure-packed third-set tiebreaker victory, 6-3, 4-6, 10-7, over Cole Schneider and Ryan Smith.
'Obviously the crowd was into it a big deal,” Myers said. 'We were just trying to stay consistent, try to play good shots, and hopefully come out on top.”
'It was tough losing that second set,” Skvor added. 'But you've got to pick yourself up, that's all you can do.”
Skvor, Kyle Brendes and freshman Lucas Huffman all tallied singles' wins at spots four through six for Linn-Mar. Huffman also won doubles with fellow freshman Jack Gertsen, setting the stage for the clincher.
West's lone returners from its state championship teams – sophomore Jiung Jung and senior David DiLeo – each won singles and teamed for a doubles win. In a matchup of state title candidates, Jung handed Tim Paulson his first defeat this season, 6-3, 6-2. West (13-1, 10-1 MVC) was unable to get a win from the bottom half of the lineup to extend the streak.
'I think you saw how clutch our past teams have been,” West Coach Mitch Gross said. 'That's something that you've just got to get with experience.”
AT IOWA CITY WEST
Linn-Mar 5, I.C. West 4
Singles - Jiung Jung (ICW) def. Tim Paulson, 6-3, 6-2; David DiLeo (ICW) def. Trevor McCann, 6-1, 6-3; Cole Schneider (ICW) def. Ben Myers, 6-2, 6-2; Shane Skvor (LM) def. Quinn Dawson, 6-1, 6-2; Kyle Brendes (LM) def. Ryan Smith, 6-2, 6-4; Lucas Huffman (LM) def. Brad DiLeo, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles - Jung/D. DiLeo (ICW) def. Paulson/McCann, 6-3, 6-2; Myers/Skvor (LM) def. Schneider/Smith, 6-3, 4-6, 10-7; Huffman/Jack Gertsen (LM) def. B. DiLeo/Yair Abramoff, 7-6, 6-2.
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