BEAVERCREEK — Coach Eric Cusick’s Beavercreek boys varsity team is off to a good start this season.
They’ve already advanced to the second round of the Division I Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament with wins over perennial powerhouses West Chester Lakota West and Springboro, and their only loss had been a close 3-2 battle with another power — Liberty Township Lakota East.
Beavercreek’s Austin Staiger was sitting atop the Greater Western Ohio Conference list at first singles with an undefeated 5-0 overall record, 2-0 in the GWOC. Austin Chong, a Division I all-area second team selection last season, was 3-2 against tough competition and undefeated at 2-0 in the conference at second singles. And third singles freshman Heidi Orloff came into Wednesday’s match with a solid 4-1 overall mark, and she too was undefeated in conference play.
And the Beavers’ doubles teams had also been rolling along.
The first doubles tandem of Vinodh Enukonda and Curtis Guthrie are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in league play, and Cusick’s second doubles duo of Brian Gscheidle and Daniel Xiao hadn’t lost a match this season, either. Gscheidle had paired up with Ziyi Zuo on Wednesday.
So Cusick and his hard-hitting team appeared ready to see just how they measured up with perhaps the top team in the entire Miami Valley region — the aptly named Miami Valley School.
“We’re 4-1 to start the season and we’ve had a couple really big early wins: we beat Lakota West, and we beat Springboro for the first time in quite a while. That was a big win for our team,” Cusick said, prior to Wednesday’s match with Miami Valley. “… Across the board, we have a good experienced bunch of players and they each give a lot of good energy to the team.
“We’re off to a great start, but this will be a big test for us.”
Miami Valley sent Division II 2016 state qualifier Colten Morehart, district qualifer Michael Perevozchikov (both Divison II all-area first-teamers) and second team all-area singles player Reece Quigley onto the court.
Doubles district qualifiers and area first-teamers Makul Sharma and Niyanth Reddy stepped onto the Beavercreek courts at first doubles, and D-II area honorable mention pick Joe Keller teamed up with sophomore newcomer Aneia Ahmeel at second.
Beavercreek might be a pretty good high school tennis team, but Miami Valley proved that they’re still a force to be reckoned with on a tennis court.
Barely 30 minutes into match play, the visiting Rams already had first-set wins at first singles and first doubles, and appeared well on their way to claiming first-set wins in the other three matches, when Ma Nature proved she has quite a backhand of her own.
Ma Nature let out a loud ‘BOOM’ from a nearby storm cloud, and the two teams cleared the courts.
Ohio High School Athletic Association rules state that the mere sight of a lightning bolt (or in this case, the apparent sound of a nearby thunderclap) requires a half-hour weather delay. With a storm front r0lling in from the southwest, skies darkening and yet another thunder boomer heard roughly 20 minutes later, the teams’ coaches decided to call it a day.
“We knew they would be a pretty good match for us, and they didn’t disappoint. Miami Valley is a very very good tennis team, and I think they showed that tonight,” Cusick said. “We’ll reschedule this match and go from here. But they played really well, right from the start.”
Beavercreek has its next match scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, April 6 against GWOC National East division foe Kettering Fairmont. According to an abbreviated schedule listing on the Metro Buckeye Conference’s website, Miami Valley will next face Xenia Legacy Academy at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13 on the Greene County Fairgrounds tennis courts.
When he’s not dodging lightning bolts, you can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.