BEAVERCREEK — The host coach of a boys high school tennis match is usually pretty busy in getting the courts ready for the day’s match, but Beavercreek first-year coach Greg Milano was especially fidgety in the moments prior to Wednesday’s April 17 match with visiting Bellbrook.
He knew his team would be in for a test, and he got one. Beavercreek passed the test, and Bellbrook, 4-1 in a battle between two of the area’s best. Heading into the April 17 match, the latest Miami Valley Tennis Coaches Association poll had Milano’s Beavercreek bunch rated No. 3 in the area, and coach Karen Haviland’s Bellbrook Golden Eagles ranked No. 4 in the same poll.
“We knew this was going to be tough, going in,” Milano said. “On paper, the two teams were very similar. I felt very confident on our No. 1 singles match, because Austin (Staiger) is really playing well right now. The match I was worried about was at No. 1 doubles, because I don’t think Bellbrook’s doubles team (of Sam Songer and Andy Russell) has lost a match yet this season.
“So in my mind, I knew the match would depend on No. 2 singles, three singles and our second doubles. And those kids pulled through for us today.”
Milano’s prophecy played out as he saw it, and his Beavercreek Beavers successfully defended their home court with a 4-1 win.
The Beavers won all three of the singles matches, Bellbrook’s vaunted undefeated first doubles duo of Songer-Russell continued to dominate, and Beavercreek’s second doubles team also won.
Staiger defeated Zach Schultz 6-2, 6-1 at first singles; second singles’ Heidi Orloff defeated the Golden Eagles’ Cole McCrae 6-2, 6-4; and Alan Xie handed Bellbrook’s Josh Grismer his first loss of the season, 6-1, 7-5 for a Beavercreek singles sweep.
Songer and Russell rolled past ‘Creek’s Ethan Aga-Zach Savino tandem 6-0, 6-2. Earlier in the day, Savino signed a letter of intent to play collegiately at Ohio Christian University. Then at second doubles, the Beavers duo of Jason Xiao and Tushar Beniwal claimed a 6-3, 6-3 straight-set win.
Despite the loss, Bellbrook’s Haviland was happy with her team’s level of play.
“I thought they played so well. And what I mean by that is that they worked on the things we were working on in practice, they elevated their game today, brought their ‘A game’ to the court. For us, this is a process of building our game, and we did that today.”
Beavercreek climbs to 11-2 overall with Wednesday’s win. The Beavers are scheduled to host Northmont in Greater Western Ohio Conference action at 4 p.m. Thursday April 18 next.
With the loss, Bellbrook is now 9-2 overall and they’re tied for the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Southwestern division lead with Oakwood, who happens to be the Golden Eagles’ next opponent.
Bellbrook and Oakwood go at it indoors on Thursday starting at 4 p.m. at the Five Seasons Sports Club in Sugar Creek Township.