One of the most anxious moments of the day for Millard North coach Dan Bratetic came just before play started at the Metro Conference tennis tournament.
David Liu, the two-time defending state champion and Millard North’s No. 1 singles player, nearly missed his first-round match Wednesday morning at the Koch Tennis Center.
“He got here about one minute before default,” Bratetic said. “That definitely would have been a bad way to start the day.”
Liu settled in, though, as did the rest of the Mustangs. All four Millard North entries went 3-0 on the day to move into the championship round. The finals are scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Millard North leads the team race with 36 points, followed by Creighton Prep with 29 and Papillion-La Vista South with 27. Both of Creighton Prep’s doubles teams are in the finals, while both Papio South singles players advanced.
“I thought we had a great day, especially in doubles,” Bratetic said. “I thought we executed everything in doubles just the way we’ve been practicing.
“I hope we’re peaking at the right time. We’re serving better than we had earlier. We’re the underdog in three of (Thursday’s) matches, and in the other we have a (head-to-head) loss. So we’re going to have to play really well.”
The top two seeds in all four brackets reached the championship round.
Creighton Prep has the top-seeded teams at No. 1 and 2 doubles. The No. 1 team of Stavros Piperis and Brady Draheim outlasted Papillion-La Vista’s Todd Sutter and Grayson McCartney 7-6, 7-5 in the semifinals, while Creighton Prep’s No. 2 doubles team of Dillon Ketcham and Martin Gilgenast lost only one game in their three matches.
In singles, Liu will face Papio South’s Chris Dean, who didn’t drop any games Wednesday. Dean defeated Liu in their first meeting this season, but Liu has won the last three matchups.
“It’s critical for him to remember what happened earlier in the year,” Bratetic said. “That’s a real possibility if he doesn’t play his best.”
In No. 2 singles, top-seeded Biraj Parajuli of Papio South faces Millard North’s Bryce Medhi. Medhi rallied for a 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 win over Papillion-La Vista’s Adam Bartels in the semifinals. That was the only three-set match for Millard North on Wednesday.
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Team scoring: Millard North 36, Creighton Prep 29, Papio South 27, Omaha Westside 24, Papillion-La Vista 22, Millard South 13, Millard West 12, Omaha Central 11, Omaha Burke 8.5, Bellevue West 7, Omaha Bryan 4.5, Omaha North 1.5, Bellevue East 1, Omaha Benson 1, Omaha South 1, Omaha Northwest .5.
No. 1 singles: Quarterfinals: David Liu, MN, def. Dominik Crump, MS, 6-0, 6-1; Sean Padios, Westside, def. Daniel Erickson, PL, 6-2, 6-2; Thomas Kennedy, CP, def. John Stobbe, OC, 6-1, 6-1; Chris Dean, PLS, def. Mitch Porter, MW, 6-0, 6-0. Semifinals: Liu def. Padios 6-2, 6-1; Dean def. Kennedy 6-0, 6-0. Fifth-place match: Erickson def. Stobbe 8-7 (5).
No. 2 singles: Quarterfinals: Biraj Parajuli, PLS, def. Peter Furlow, CP, 6-2, 6-4; Max Slosburg, Westside, def. Josh Miller, MW, 6-1, 6-0; Adam Bartels, PL, def. Sean Cavalieri, OC, 6-3, 6-0; Bryce Medhi, MN, def. Zach Warneke, MS, 6-0, 6-0. Semifinals: Parajuli def. Slosburg 6-2, 6-3; Medhi def. Bartels 6-1, 2-6, 6-3. Fifth-place match: Furlow def. Cavalieri 8-1.
No. 1 doubles: Quarterfinals: Stavros Piperis-Brady Draheim, CP, def. Connor Sidzyik-Jeremiah Cook, BW, 6-1, 6-1; Todd Sutter-Grayson McCartney, PL, def. Grant Horton-Ben Palensky, PLS, 6-4, 6-2; Camden Bilyeu-Tom Kutilek, Westside, def. Eddie Yuan-Nate Mersch, MS, 6-0, 6-2; Andrew Bristol-Brent McKnight, MN, def. Nate Pigsley-Eric Schilling, MW, 6-2, 6-4. Semifinals: Piperis-Draheim def. Sutter-McCartney, 7-6 (4), 7-5; Bristol-McKnight def. Bilyeu-Kutilek, 6-3, 6-3. Fifth-place match: Horton-Palensky def. Pigsley-Schilling 9-7.
No. 2 doubles: Quarterfinals: Martin Gilgenast-Dillon Ketcham, CP, def. Dallas Hixson-Omar Martinez, Bryan, 6-0, 6-1; Ben Wachholtz-Grant Van Scoy, PL, def. Dylan Cook-Aaron Rothermund, PLS, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2; Tyler Siegel-Teigan Swanson, Westside, def. Jason Wisenbaker-Kyle Allen, BW, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1; Connor Brown-Raymond Thai, MN, def. Eric Mears-Wiley Nichols, MS, 6-0, 6-0. Semifinals: Gilgenast-Ketcham def. Wachholtz-Van Scoy, 6-0, 6-0; Brown-Thai def. Siegel-Swanson 6-3, 6-2. Fifth-place match: Cook-Rothermund def. Mears-Nichols 8-2.