Jesuit Tennis Team Takes Care of Regional Business, Sets Sights on State

Posted April 21, 2015 / Last updated April 28, 2015

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Assistant coach Jay Combe, coach Travis Smith, Brandon Beck, Graham Buck, Andrew Nguyen, Jonathan Niehaus, Jack Steib, Alex DePascual, Gregory Suhor, Patrick Torsch, Jacob Niehaus, Trey Hamlin, along with Allstate Sugar Bowl president-elect, Chuck Lapeyre.

Jesuit’s tennis team scored the maximum possible 21 points en route to capturing the Allstate Sugar Bowl regional tennis tournament on Monday and Tuesday, April 20 and 21, at the City Park Pepsi Tennis Center. Runner-up Brother Martin finished with 11 points.

The Blue Jays actually clinched the team title on the first day of competition. There was still the potential for some drama on Day Two, however, as seeding at the state tournament was on the line. Regional champions and runners-up are seeded at state, while losers of semifinal matches go into the draw unseeded.

“That’s been on our mind for quite a while now,” said head coach Travis Smith. “We made some difficult decisions in an effort to maximize our chance at four seeds at state.”

The most difficult decision was to break up the doubles partnership of senior Gregory Suhor and junior Brandon Beck. The pair won the state doubles championship last year without losing a set. But circumstances, namely an anticipated showdown with Catholic High at state, necessitated a change.

“We just felt better about our match-ups with the change,” said Smith.

He’s no doubt feeling even better about the change given the regional results. Both the doubles and singles finals, as Smith hoped, were all-Jesuit affairs.

In singles, Suhor, the tournament’s top seed, advanced to the final with a 6-1, 6-1 win over third seeded Benjamin Chanes of Brother Martin. There, he met teammate Alex DePascual, who defeated Terrebone’s Sean Stewart in the semifinals by a score of 6-2, 6-2. DePascual, the second seed, came out strong in the finals, posting a 6-1 win in the first set before Suhor got rolling. Suhor won the second set 6-4, and was up 1-0 in the third when DePascual retired.

In doubles, Jesuit’s top seeded Niehaus brothers, Jonathan and Jacob, defeated teammates Patrick Torsch (senior) and Jack Steib (sophomore) 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the finals.

In the other semifinal, Beck and new partner Trey Hamlin, a sophomore, shut out Brother Martin’s No. 1 doubles team of Matthew Spieler and Ian Sigl.

The finals was a seesaw affair, with the Niehaus twins coming out on top of a tight 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 match. It’s the second consecutive regional doubles title for the junior duo, who defeated Beck and Suhor in the regional final last year before losing to them at state.

Smith was especially pleased with the performance of Beck and Hamlin. “That was huge win in the semifinals,” said Smith of Beck and Hamlin’s 6-0, 6-0 victory. “It’s hard enough to beat a seeded team in doubles (Spieler and Sigl were the No. 4 seed; Hamlin and Beck were the No. 2 seed), but to do it without dropping a game is unbelievable.”

“Brandon is such a leader on this team,” continued Smith. “He truly gets the team concept. A lot of guys wouldn’t have taken a late-season change in the doubles rotation well. Not only did he take it well, he embraced it and hasn’t looked back. That Beck/Hamlin team is going to be dangerous.”

They will need to be dangerous if the Blue Jays hope to walk away with their eighth consecutive state title. “Everybody is going to have to bring his A-game,” says Smith. “Catholic High is hungry. They really believe it’s their year. And Mandeville and Byrd are not to be taken lightly, either. But if the last two days are any indication, I think we’ll be ready.”

The state tournament will be held in Monroe on April 30 and May 1.

Read More – Jesuit, Mount Carmel, Dominican earn Regional Tennis titles at City Park