Sports

Mustang Boys Tennis Team Wins Back-to-Back Finals

Tagami Tops State Singles Tourney

The George Mason High School boys varsity tennis team secured their second consecutive state tournament win last weekend in the same way they’ve played much of their season: With a shutout.

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Mason’s boys tennis team won the school’s 14th state tennis title, including its second in a row. (Photo: Matt Sowers)
Tagami Tops State Singles Tourney

The George Mason High School boys varsity tennis team secured their second consecutive state tournament win last weekend in the same way they’ve played much of their season: With a shutout.

The boys team blanked the Lee High School squad in the Virginia High School League Single A State Tournament, held last weekend in Radford, 5-0.

The win marks the 11th shutout of a 15-win season for the Mustangs, their only lost coming during the regular-season.

“It is really special to end the season with another shut out,” Mason coach Matt Sowers said. “Winning the state tournament back-to-back is an amazing thing for our senior class to leave to our tennis program.”

Earning points for the Mustangs in the Saturday final were juniors Kan Tagami and Karl Campanella-Dysart, sophomore Tommy Weber, freshman Nate Jones and senior Daniel Fletcher. Because tournament rules state that any team to reach five match wins is declared the victor, an ongoing singles match played by senior Jay Rodock and doubles match were cancelled.

The Mason team secured a spot in the finals by defeating Glenvar High School in the semi-finals, 5-1. Lee High School defeated Appomattox Regional High School to join Mason in the finals.

Both Glenvar and Lee were new opponents for Mason, who went into last year’s final four with John Battle, Radford and Appomattox Regional high schools.

“Mental and physical preparation is the key elements to approaching an opponent that we have never seen before,” Sowers said, adding that the team had, in recent weeks, been focusing on new serving strategies.

“I emphasized heavily how important it is to not only win and hold your serve, but also to win with Mason pride,” Sowers said. “Mason pride is looking over the statistics taken from one match and trying not only to win and beat your opponent, but also to beat yourself by outdoing your previous statistics from a match earlier in the season.”

The team win wasn’t the only state tournament tennis trophy brought back to Mason. Tagami, team’s top-seeded player, won the singles tournament last Thursday. Tagami beat Tim Howard of Glenvar, in two sets, 6-3 and 6-1, earning him the state title. Tagami was doing triple duty at the tournament, as he and his doubles partner, Rodock, had also made it into the semis, but fell to Lee High School’s Marc Huff and Tyler Tindell, with a match score of 4-6, 6-3, 5-7.

According to Sowers, Tagami had to vary his strategy by the time he made it to his single match in the team tournament, opting for ending a point quickly instead of playing out a rally.

“Tagami explained how his right forearm was beginning to tire and he wanted to ensure that he was able to finish his points quickly and hopefully within two straight sets,” Sowers said. And with a score of 6-2 and 6-2, Tagami was able to do just that.

Tagami will return to the team next year, along with Campanella-Dysart, Weber and Jones, who will potentially be the top four seeded players. Mason will be graduating seven seniors, two from the top six, including the doubles partners for Tagami and Jones, but Sowers said that he will be speaking with the players to determine the best pairings and the best course of action as they eye a shot at a three-peat state tournament win next year.

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