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North tennis team nips East, remains unbeaten

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Columbus East had the hammers at the top of the lineup Wednesday afternoon, but Columbus North had the superior depth.

As a result, the visiting 20th-ranked Bull Dogs pulled out a 3-2 victory against their crosstown rivals in a battle of unbeaten boys tennis teams who are almost certain to meet again in the sectional.

“I really felt like coming in that we had the edge,” said North coach Kendal Hammel. “It wasn’t quite like I thought it would have been, but 3-2 is a win. It just means that we need to work on some things at different positions, and I’m sure they’re going to work on some things, too.”

The Bull Dogs (4-0) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with 6-0, 6-0 wins at No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles. Kevin Luo gave North its first point with the shutout of Zach Sagester at No. 3 singles.

“It was pretty important that we got momentum early because all of our recent matches against East were pretty close,” Luo said. “It was good to get the ball rolling in the beginning.”

The Bull Dogs’ Jake Likens and Mitchell Miller blanked Alex Galle and Matt Furnish at No. 1 doubles.

“I was really pleased with 1 doubles and 3 singles,” Hammel said. “Those two positions went out and did a great job. No. 2 doubles, which was probably the match I was wondering about, did a nice job, too. They’re getting better and better as the season progresses and getting more confidence.”

At No. 2 doubles, North’s Daniel Larken and Nathan VanDeventer beat Sammy Woolwine and Neeraj Pandita 6-1, 6-3.

“I really thought we had a chance at both doubles,” East coach Jim Stone said. “They played scared the whole time. We’ll have to see if we can get them to relax a little bit and have a little bit more fun.”

Trailing 3-0, the Olympians (5-1) got on the board with JoJo Woolwine’s 6-4, 6-3 win against Rahul Jha at No. 2 singles. Jha had beaten JoJo Woolwine 6-0, 6-0 last season.

“We’ve been working a lot of JoJo, just having a good time and relaxing and have fun,” Stone said. “He’s improved a lot mentally.”

East’s Seth Meyer, who hadn’t lost a game at No. 1 singles all season, finally faced a challenge in North’s Anthony Sanders. Sanders won six games against Meyer, but Meyer remained unbeaten with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

“I could have played a lot better,” Meyer said. “I just kept the ball in play. I wasn’t that aggressive. I just kept hitting it back and grinding.

“Playing Anthony is definitely a different style,” he said. “Most people I’ve played are passive and don’t attack. Anthony was the aggressor today.”

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