Creighton Prep put itself in position to win another Class A boys tennis team championship.
Lincoln Southwest did all it could to be in line for its first state title.
The Junior Jays and Silver Hawks went unbeaten Thursday during the state tournament’s first day at the Koch Tennis Center, advancing all four entries into Friday’s semifinals. The semifinals will begin at 9 a.m., with the championship round slated for 1 p.m.
Creighton Prep, which has won 10 of the past 12 team titles, and Lincoln Southwest each have 36 points, while Papillion-La Vista South is third with 26. No other team has more than two entries in the semifinals.
“We’ve got some winning to do. With Southwest, with the spot they’re at, we need to pick up a couple of big wins,” Creighton Prep coach Mike Higgins said. “We played really well today, so I’m excited to see what we can do (Friday).”
None of Prep’s players dropped a set Thursday. Thomas Kennedy lost three games in two matches at No. 1 singles, while Nathan Singh lost two games in his No. 2 singles matches. Singh missed last week’s Metro Conference tournament with pneumonia.
“He’s a lot healthier and hit the ball pretty well,” Higgins said.
Prep’s No. 1 doubles team of Stavros Piperis and Brady Draheim dropped only one game on the day. They will next face Southwest’s C.J. Sjulin and Justin Brinkman — that’s the only matchup between Prep and Southwest in the semifinals.
Southwest’s closest call Thursday came at No. 1 singles as fourth-seeded Jonathan Meyer won the final three games to pull out a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded Hunter Dunlap of Lincoln East.
Up next for Meyer is Millard North’s David Liu, who is looking for his third consecutive No. 1 singles title. Liu won a pair of 6-0, 6-0 matches Thursday.
The other No. 1 singles semifinal features Kennedy against Papio South’s Chris Dean. Dean was pushed in his quarterfinal match as he turned back Grand Island’s Joe Huston 6-1, 6-4.
Huston raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but Dean was able to win the next five games to advance.
“He’s a scrapper. He gets to everything,” Dean said of Huston. “I was getting frustrated as the match was going on, so I calmed down a little bit and waited for him to hit a short ball so I could attack it.”
As a freshman last season, Dean lost 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the state quarterfinals.
“When I got down 1-4, I started to think about last year,” said Dean, who improved to 38-5 this season — four of his losses have been to Liu. “I thought, this can not happen again. So I was really happy to pull out the win.”
Overall, the top three seeds in all four divisions advanced to the semifinals. Besides Liu at No. 1 singles, the top seeds are Lincoln Southwest’s Alexander Woodward at No. 2 singles; Lincoln Southeast’s Danny Clare and Ben TerMaat at No. 1 doubles; and Creighton Prep’s Martin Gilgenast and Dillon Ketcham at No. 2 doubles.
Team scores: Creighton Prep 36, Lincoln Southwest 36, Papillion-La Vista South 26, Kearney 24, Lincoln East 24, Lincoln Southeast 24, Millard North 22, Papillion-La Vista 22, Omaha Westside 20, Lincoln North Star 14, North Platte 12, Grand Island 10, Lincoln High 10, Columbus 8, Norfolk 8, Omaha Central 8, Fremont 6, Lincoln Northeast 4, Omaha Burke 4, Omaha North 4, Omaha South 4, Bellevue West 2, Millard West 2, Omaha Bryan 2, Bellevue East 0, Millard South 0, Omaha Benson 0, Omaha Northwest 0.
Individual results: Quarterfinals: No. 1 singles—David Liu, MN, def. Scott Keene, LSE, 6-0, 6-0; Jonathan Meyer, LSW, def. Hunter Dunlap, LE, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; Thomas Kennedy, CP, def. Matthew Case, Kearney, 6-2, 6-1; Chris Dean, PLS, def. Joe Huston, GI, 6-1, 6-4. Semifinals—Liu vs. Meyer; Kennedy vs. Dean. No. 2 singles—Alexander Woodward, LSW, def. Caleb Capellen, Kearney, 6-1, 6-2; Biraj Parajuli, PLS, def. Bryce Medhi, MN, 6-1, 6-2; Alexander Heywood, LE, def. Max Slosburg, Westside, 6-2, 6-0; Nathan Singh, CP, def. Adam Bartels, Papio, 6-1, 6-0. Semifinals—Woodward vs. Parajuli; Heywood vs. Singh. No. 1 doubles—Danny Clare-Ben TerMaat, LSE, def. Camden Bilyeu-Thomas Kutilek, Westside, 6-3, 6-0; Grayson McCartney-Todd Sutter, PL, def. Race Schuurmans-Christian Stoneall-Nelson, Lincoln, 6-2, 6-2; Brady Draheim-Stavros Piperis, CP, def. Seth Liveringhouse-Ty Liveringhouse, Kearney, 6-0, 6-1; CJ Sjulin-Justin Brinkman, LSW, def. Michael Coffey-Devon Thompson, North Star, 6-0, 6-1. Semifinals—Clare-TerMaat vs. McCartney-Sutter; Draheim-Piperis vs. Sjulin-Brinkman. No. 2 doubles—Martin Gilgenast-Dillon Ketcham, CP, def. Tyler Siegel-Teigen Swanson, Westside, 6-4, 6-3; Keaton Johnson-Matthew Reynoldson, LE, def. Nick Dosskey-Garrett Kraus, LSE, 6-1, 6-2; Connor Brown-Raymond Thai, MN, def. Ryan Clark-Reed Wallace, Kearney, 6-1, 6-1; Max Ferguson-Cameron Spurrier, LSW, def. Dylan Cook-Aaron Rothermund, PLS, 6-1, 6-2. Semifinals—Gilgenast-Ketcham vs. Johnson-Reynoldson; Brown-Thai vs. Ferguson-Spurrier.