McDonogh, Deerfield lead pack into tennis final round National Prep Team event hampered by wet courts

June 11, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

It didn't take long to separate the haves from the have-nots at the National Prep Team Championships yesterday, unless you think a bunch of people squeegeeing off tennis courts at 6: 30 in the morning and play going on more than 12 hours later qualifies as a full day's work.

When the futile sopping up of the McDonogh School courts was done, play for two-thirds of the six teams competing was moved indoors, then back outdoors and the last ball was struck for a winner, a few things were apparent:

Host McDonogh and Deerfield (Mass.) Academy not only have fine players, they have a lot of them. While the Eagles were posting shutouts over Western Reserve (Ohio) and Choate Rosemary Hall (Conn.), both by 7-0 scores, Deerfield brushed by Greenhill (Texas), 5-1, and Western Reserve, 7-0.

These two aren't alone atop the standings after the first day of round-robin play, however. After Lawrenceville (N.J.) had beaten Choate, 5-1, in the morning, it squeezed by Green Hill on the strength of a point gained in doubles after the squads had split six singles matches.

Greenhill, Choate and Western Reserve were blanked in the point standings, but the toughest part of their schedules are behind, now victory is at hand.

McDonogh and Deerfield will pair off in the afternoon today in what probably will determine the team title. But it will come only if the Eagles can get by Lawrenceville and Deerfield can subdue Choate in the morning.

"We beat Lawrenceville during the regular season," said McDonogh coach Laddie Levy, "but its No. 1 [Mike Slapp] didn't play. It showed good depth beating Greenhill, winning the Nos. 3-4-5 singles."

Meanwhile, Deerfield figures to have its way against Choate, except these two are bitter rivals going back years and their match this year was rained out three times.

After the morning washout, the call went in to the indoor clubs at Green Spring and Bare Hills for court time. Short matches vs. long matches only added to the logistical problems encountered getting the teams back to the tourney site.

The players were adaptable, though. Upsets weren't prevalent, but it wasn't for a lack of effort.

For example, the doubles team of Youhiki Obeyashi and Erhan Bedestani, Nos. 5 and 6 singles players for Lawrenceville, staged a comeback to win a pro set, 8-7, and assure the team's victory, Then Bedestani, battling cramps in both legs, hung on to win a three-setter in singles.

His teammates, despite fatigue, would have ridden him off the court on their shoulders but, instead, as dusk approached, the player was being walked around the running track by his coach, Charles Williams, in hopes the legs would allow him to play today.

Pub Date: 6/11/96

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