Top-seeded Omaha Creighton Prep seniors Niko Piperis and Michael Koch successfully defended their No. 1 doubles title Friday at the Class A boys state tennis tournament.
The icing on the cake? Their 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over third-seeded Lincoln Southeast junior Danny Clare and senior Andrew Plamann clinched the team championship for Creighton Prep by a single point. Lincoln Southeast finished second with 44 points in front of an estimated 250 fans at the Koch Family Tennis Center.
“We just wanted to go out on top,” said Piperis, who also won the No. 1 doubles title in 2010. “We wanted to get it for everybody here, especially for the team.”
The team title is Creighton Prep's fourth in five years and 10th in 12 years.
“It's incredibly sweet to have (Koch and Piperis) capture their second state championship,” Creighton Prep coach Mike Higgins said, “and then to have them capture the team championship this year, which eluded them last year.”
After splitting the first two sets, the Junior Jays duo jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set and broke serve four times en route to winning the match.
“We started to play aggressively again,” Koch said. “We were not aggressive in the second set and kind of let our foot off the gas.”
The No. 1 singles title was successfully defended by top-seeded Millard North junior David Liu, who overpowered seventh-seeded Omaha Westside senior Trent Gardner 6-2, 6-0.
Liu has not lost a set during his two-year high school career. He dropped only four games throughout the entire tournament.
“Overall, I had a pretty dominant performance,” said Liu, who has drawn interest from Ivy League schools Dartmouth and Princeton.
Gardner held serve to open the match, but Liu closed it out with ease, claiming the final nine games.
“I got off to a rough start. I was tight,” Liu said. “But it happens, and I just fought through it.”
Liu, who trained at the Newcombe Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas, as a freshman, said another state title run could be in store next fall.
“I'll try to get into the junior U.S. Open, but if I can't get into that I'll play high school for sure,” Liu said. “Hopefully both.”
In the No. 2 singles final, top-seeded Lincoln Southeast senior Bobby Curry dethroned the defending champion, third-seeded Lincoln East sophomore Jacob Wenger, with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 comeback victory. In No. 2 doubles, the top seed, Lincoln Southeast seniors Max Cuppens and Nick Wimmer, held off second-seeded Creighton Prep junior Peter Furlow and sophomore Stavros Piperis 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Team scoring: Omaha Creighton Prep 45, Lincoln Southeast 44, Millard North 40, Omaha Westside 38.5, Lincoln East 26.5, Lincoln Southwest 25, Papillion La-Vista South 22, Grand Island 18, Papillion-La Vista 18, Millard West 16, Lincoln North Star 14, Omaha Central 12, Fremont 10, Kearney 6, Lincoln High 6, Norfolk 6, Bellevue East 4, Columbus 4, Lincoln Northeast 4, Omaha Benson 4, Omaha Burke 4, Bellevue West 2, Millard South 2, North Platte 2, Omaha Northwest 2, Omaha Bryan 0, Omaha North 0, Omaha South 0.
No. 1 singles: Championship: David Liu, MN, def. Trent Gardner, OW, 6-2, 6-0. Third place: Matt Eglseder, CP, def. Joe Huston, GI, 7-5, 6-1. Semifinals: Liu def. Eglseder 6-1, 6-0. Gardner def. Huston 6-4, 6-4.
No. 2 singles: Championship: Bobby Curry, LSE, def. Jacob Wenger, LE, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. Third place: Sean Padios, OW, def. Raymond Thai, MN, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. Semifinals: Curry def. Padios 6-3, 7-6 (2). Wenger def. Thai 6-1, 6-0.
No. 1 doubles: Championship: Niko Piperis/Michael Koch, CP, def. Danny Clare/Andrew Plamann, LSE, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Third Place: C.J. Sjulin/Justin Brinkman, LSW, def. Michael Mellen/Noah Placzek, OW, 6-1, 6-3. Semifinals: Piperis/Koch def. Mellen/Placzek 6-2, 6-3. Clare/Plamann def. Sjulin/Brinkman 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4).
No. 2 doubles: Championship: Max Cuppens/Nick Wimmer, LSE, def. Peter Furlow/Stavros Piperis, CP, 6-4, 7-6 (5). Third place: Donald Breit/Alexander Heywood, LE, def. Brent McKnight/Andrew Bristol, MN, 6-3, 6-4. Semifinals: Cuppens/Wimmer def. McKnight/Bristol 6-1, 6-3. Furlow/Piperis def. Breit/Heywood 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
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