LHS Tennis: A Force To Be Reckoned With
The Lakewood Tennis Team capped a stellar career for its seniors with a sterling 14-5 record. The senior class completed the best 4 year run for Lakewood tennis in the past 45 years. During this period, the team won the NOC title 3 times, had 4 tournament championships, and produced 24 All-NOC performers, including 3 league MVP’s.
This year’s edition of Ranger tennis made it clear that they are ready to compete in the West Shore Conference next year. They took home their first ever Rocky River Invitational Championship by winning 4 of the 5 positions. Singles champions were senior Alex Mihas, senior Jimmy Matthiesen, and junior Chris Richardson. Richardson won his position without surrendering a single game. In doubles, the team of Chris Brinich and Dan Mezin claimed victory. The Rangers also were a force in the Avon Lake doubles tournament, as the teams of Mihas and Matthiesen claimed the first doubles championship and the team of Brinich and Richardson won second doubles.
The Rangers also were a force in NOC conference play, as they defeated strong teams from Cuyahoga Falls, North Royalton, Brunswick, and Twinsburg.
Individually, the team was led by team MVP and captain Jimmy Matthiesen. Matthiesen compiled a 20-5 overall record, most of his wins coming at first singles. He frustrated opponents with his flat groundstrokes and attacking the net at every opportunity. Chris Richardson led the team in wins with a spectacular 25-5 record. He used his fierce competitive drive and athleticism to wear down his opponents. Alex Mihas rounded out the stellar singles play with a 15-3 record. This blue chip college prospect gutted out the year in tremendous pain, as he dealt with both severe stomach and shoulder ailments. He finishes his career at Lakewood with 2 NOC MVP trophies and 2 District Tennis Tournament Appearances. Chris Brinich was the team’s most versatile performer as he floated back and forth between singles and doubles while compiling a solid 21-9 record. He teamed with Dan Mezin to create a formidable first doubles team. The second doubles team of juniors Matt Carlson and Alex Northrop rounded out the starting lineup and provided some much needed team depth.
This year’s team was also very successful off of the court. 20 of the 25 members of the team were honored with the Ranger Award for achievements in the classroom. On top of that, six of the seven starters on the team earned All-NOC Scholar Athlete Awards. Matthiesen claimed the prestigious Golden Racquet Award from the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association for his contributions both on and off of the court. Brinich claimed the Silver Racquet Award that goes out to very few distinguished individuals.
Tennis at Lakewood usually flies under the radar. However, this year’s squad has served notice that they deserve the recognition.