The Individual Section 3AA Tournament held 30 miles away in Lakeville hit home for rivals East Ridge and Park. Their top doubles teams, seeded fourth and fifth, respectively, fought for a trip to the semifinals on Tuesday, May 22.
Their quarterfinal face-off represented a re-match for the four players. Raptors senior Colton Mog and sophomore Zach Nigatu played the same two Park players -- freshman Mekdim DeJene and junior Jacob Elliott -- in singles during the regular season.
East Ridge coach Suzie Heideman expected to see a close match, and noted that in the regular season the four had played competitive tennis. During their April 12 match, Nigatu won in a third-set tiebreaker while Mog won in three sets.
Mog and Nigatu found another three-set win in the second round of the individual section tournament. After receiving a bye for the first round, they played a doubles team comprised of Simley's No. 1 and No. 2 singles players.
"They were down 2-6, 5-6 and brought the second set to a tiebreaker. Down 2-6 in the tiebreaker, they came back and won 9-7 to bring the match to three sets," Heideman said.
The team's 6-3 win in the third set bought them a ticket to Tuesday's quarterfinals, after the Bulletin went to press.
"I'm very proud of the way East Ridge boys never gave up," Heideman said. "Down multiple match points and coming back to win the match."
She looked forward to seeing the boys complete their journey through the tournament.
"I'm really excited for Zach and Colton, but especially for Colton, because he's a senior. This is his last chance for high school tennis . . . I saw lots of smiles from Colton and Zach in their miraculous comeback and that's what this is all about -- having fun."
Freshman Vishaal Gupta and sophomore Greg Sharrow also represented East Ridge, playing singles at the tournament. Both players defeated their opponents in the first round, but came up short for the second.
The final stages of the individual tournament mark the end of a winning season for East Ridge. Their varsity roster will say goodbye to seniors Mog, Sayan Roy, and Warren Tropezado.