Tennis Takes To Road in Force

Posted February 25, 2018 / Last updated February 25, 2018

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Sophomore James Henican reaches for a volley at the McGill-Toolen Tournament on Feb. 23.

Sophomore James Henican reaches for a volley at the McGill-Toolen Tournament on Feb. 23.

Thirty-three Jesuit tennis players descended on Alabama on February 23 for the McGill-Toolen Invitational at the Mobile Tennis Center.

The Jays broke up into four separate squads to compete in the two-day  tournament, which drew 48 teams from 29 schools and five states.

Jesuit’s A-team, which was placed in the top draw, won its opener against Jackson Academy (Mississippi), sweeping the six singles and three doubles matches for a 9-0 shutout and ensuring a spot in the top eight overall. But the sledding got a little rougher from there, as the Jays then dropped three hard-fought decisions to Strake Jesuit (Houston), Niceville (Florida), and Ocean Springs (Mississippi), all by scores of 6-3.

The A-team was anchored by sophomore standout Jojo Sandoz. Other team members were: seniors Christian Lacoste, Lee Blosser, and Andrew Ryan; junior Colin Meyer; and sophomores James Henican, Sid Trouard, and Pierce Westbrook.

Jesuit’s B-team also merited placement in the top draw by virtue of the team’s collective Universal Tennis Rating, a relatively new phenomenon that lets tournament directors assess team strength based on an algorithm that crunches numbers of all USTA-sanctioned play.

After dropping its first two matches to Vestavia Hills (Montgomery, Alabama) and Madison Central (Mississippi), the B-team rebounded with back-to-back 5-4 wins over St. Thomas More (Lafayette) and Jackson Academy. When all was said and done, the B-team finished the tournament in 13th place, just a shade behind the 8th-place finish of the A-team.

B-team members were: seniors Paul Myers and John Nuttli, juniors Cole LaCour, David Nimmo, and Dex Webster; sophomore Wes Melito; and freshmen Nicholas Crockens and David Webster.

The C-team finished 23rd overall after splitting four matches in the second draw. After opening with a win over Saraland (Alabama), the C-team lost to the B-team from Vestavia Hills and UMS Wright (Mobile) before closing with a win over Stone County (Mississippi).

C-team members were: seniors Jonathan Arnold and Jordan Tufts; juniors William Bostick and Stephen Redfearn; sophomores Christian Cannon, Tom Levy, and Luke Russo; and freshman Keating Landry.

The D-Team, playing in the third-tier draw, posted a 1-2 record to finish 36th overall. D-team members were: juniors Ian Cruz-Schneider and David Dillon; sophomore Milan Mardia; and freshmen James Bostick, Grayson Chanove, Carter Dimaggio, Porter Lichtl, Ethan Morgan, and Jonathan Morse.

The proximity of the finishes for the A- and B-teams wasn’t a surprise to Coach Travis Smith.

“After Jojo, there’s not a whole lot of drop-off from No. 2 to No. 16 with this bunch,” explained Smith. “The great thing about this tournament is that it makes us all better.”