Seward Duo Anez and Nice Win ITA Title
Brock Kappelmann - October 17, 2016 6:32 am
Seward County Saints Carlos Anez and Ondrej Nice continued their improbable run to an ITA National Championship on Friday in Surprise, Arizona as the dynamic duo bested the top ranked doubles team in the country from Tyler Junior College in a three set marathon to win the Saints second National Title in program history.
It was a heated battle as expected between the Saints and Apaches who watched the same two pairs play to a 9-8 decision earlier in the fall season. A pair of key breaks in the first allowed Seward to take a 6-4 decision in the first set to go ahead 1-0 in the National Championship match. The Saints looked like they were well on their way to a title in the second as they led 5-3 late following a break and a hold from Ondrej Nice, but Seward was unable to capitalize on multiple championship points in the set and watched as the Apaches came all the way back to even the match at five and eventually take the set 7-5 to send things to a deciding third set. Tyler carried the momentum right into the third where they led 3-1 after a break and split the next two games to hold a 4-2 advantage late on the Saints. But Anez and Nice continued to fight, holding serve and then breaking the Apaches to even the score up at 4. The teams split the next two games to make it 5-5 and held serve to go ahead 6-5, needing just one more game to claim the title. They got just that, breaking a big Apache serve to clinch the seventh and final point, winning the third 7-5 to bring the ITA National Championship home to Liberal.
The championship marks the second time in three seasons that the Saints have turned the trick as Ronzai Saurombe and Alejandro Gonzalez earned the first title in program history in 2014.
The Seward County doubles team of Carlos Anez and Ondrej Nice made history for the Saints on Saturday, becoming the first Seward duo to win a match in the Oracle Cup ‘Super Bowl’ with a victory over NCAA Division III Champions Emory University, but the pair was upended in the Super Bowl final by a red hot Georgia Gwinett to narrowly miss a trip to New York and the ITA National Indoor Championships.
In their first match of the Oracle Cup finals, the Saints took on Jemison/Omsky of Emory University who one day earlier had captured the NCAA Division III National Championship. The Saints started the semifinal strong, winning the first three games to go ahead 3-0 and up two breaks in the first set, but Emory found their groove, winning the final six games of the set, breaking the Seward serve three times to take the first 6-3. It looked like it might be a quick exit for the Saints in the second as Emory served for the match, up 6-5, but a key break by Seward sent the second to a tiebreak in which Anez/Nice rose to the occasion, winning easily 7-2 to push things to a deciding third set. The Saints kept the momentum from the second and rolled it right over to the third, having little problem with the Eagles in a 6-2 win, earning a coveted spot in the Oracle Cup final on Sunday.
Sunday the competition ramped up just a bit as Anez/Nice stood across the net from the defending Super Bowl Champs and heavy favorites from Georgia Gwinett College. The Saints managed a pair of games early, but the Grizzlies just had too much firepower as they finished off the first 6-2 and blanked Seward in the second 6-0 to claim the cup championship and punch their ticket for the ITA Indoor National Championships.
In singles action on Saturday, Anez pulled out a grueling three set, come from behind win 6-7 (8), 6-1, 7-5 over Alessio Paro of American River in the 5th place match of the singles tournament to end his weekend in 5th place.
Anez and Nice become the first Saints doubles team to win a match in the Super Bowl finals while Anez’s 5th place finish also marks the best in Seward County history at the event.
The championship weekend for the Saints officially brings Seward’s fall season to an end. Anez and Nice will now likely open the spring season as the top ranked doubles team in the ITA Rankings.
COMPLETE ORACLE CUP SUPER BOWL RESULTS<http://www.itatennis.com/Assets/2016+ITA+Oracle+Cup+-+Men$!27s+Complete.pdf>
Thalita Rodrigues and Steffany Bermudez came within one victory of school history on Friday in Surprise, Arizona, but fell just short in their quest for the program’s first ITA National Championship, dropping a 6-1, 6-4 decision to State College of Florida to finish second in the country for the fall season.
One day after upsetting the #1 ranked team in the country, the Lady Saints faced the stiff task of taking on the #2 ranked squad as they squared off against Medina/Sergheeva of State College of Florida. After splitting the first two games, the Manatees caught fire, winning the final five games of the set to win the first 6-1. The Lady Saints fell behind again early in the second 2-1, but battled back to take the next two to take a 3-2 lead. Their luck was short lived though as again SCF got hot, finishing the set, and the championship strong to take the second 6-4 and sweep the match in straight sets.
Rodrigues and Bermudez tie for the best finish in school history, equaling Paula Lopez and Paula Coyos second place finish in 2014.