October 24, 2013University Liggett's boys' tennis team knew it had a shot to win its first state championship in several years.
Head coach Drew Mascarin watched his players gain a lot of momentum heading into the finals at Grand Blanc and Holly high schools.
They were close after the first day of competition, but in the end the Knights finished third with 21 points.
Ann Arbor Greenhills won its sixth straight Division 4 state title, earning 33 points, and Grand Rapids West Catholic was second with 24 points.
T.J. Dulac won his first match, beating Frankenmuth's Zachary Bierlein 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, but lost his next match 6-0, 6-0 to West Catholic's Nicholas Solarewicz in his next match at No. 1 singles.
Patrick Diaz, at No. 2 singles, beat Ludington's Austin Sniegowski 6-2, 6-2 in his first match before falling 6-2, 6-1 to Kalamazoo Hackett's Teddy Oosterbaan, the No. 1 seed.
Steven Kneiser also won a match at No. 3 singles, defeating Kalamazoo Christian's Tyler Boes 7-5, 6-0, but lost 6-4, 6-4 to Traverse City St. Francis' Jack Krcmarik in the next round, and at No. 4 singles, Jeffrey Shell won 6-2, 6-2 over Paw Paw's Jesse Meachum in his first match before losing 6-2, 7-5 to West Catholic's Kennedy Ryan.
The Knights' No. 1 doubles team of James Jurcak and Neil Sekhon beat Berrien Springs' Callahan Wales and Nate Dennis 6-1, 6-1 in their first match before losing 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to Lansing Catholic's Emmett Lehmen and Chris Castellani in the next round.
Alan Jurcak and August Bonacci, the No. 1 seed at No. 2 doubles, had a great run and made it to the finals.
They beat Kalamazoo Christian's Luke VanElderin and Jimmy Dirksen 7-5, 6-2 in their first match before defeating West Catholic's Jake Blankemeier and Even Green 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Alan Jurcak and Bonacci beat Portland's Asher Dorshimer and Chandler Ferris 6-1, 6-0, before losing a tough finals match 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 to Greenhills' Neil Sykes and Isak Akervall.
The No. 2 doubles team of Jack Ninivaggi and Alex Dow, the No. 2 seed, beat West Catholic's Peter Brechting and Abe Katt 7-6, 6-2 in their first match and took care of Kalamazoo Christian's Tyler Meyer and Nate Herder 6-2, 7-6 in the quarterfinals.
They also made the finals after beating Lansing Catholic's Ben Clark and Evan Ward 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. They lost 7-5, 6-2 to Greenhills' Matt Chatas and Andy Xie in the championship match at No. 3 doubles.