When Jake Lazer and Tommy Sinnott were freshmen, they led McDonogh to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship by winning their No. 2 doubles match against Gilman.
A similar scenario played out Friday against the defending champion Greyhounds as Lazer and Sinnott — now seniors — won the final match of the day in No. 1 doubles to give the Eagles a 3-2 victory and the title.
In their four years as teammates, Lazer and Sinnott have won three conference championships. They used that experience as freshmen to pull through the pressure-filled situation Friday on the Greyhounds' home court.
"I think we were prepared for it," Lazer said. "We have been playing together for a really long time and I think we know how each other plays. I think that definitely helped us prevail. When we came in [to the net], we seemed to win a lot more points."
Gilman and McDonogh have met for the conference title in 23 of the past 25 years. McDonogh has now won 17, compared to six for Gilman.
Lazer and Sinnott lost the first set against Gilman's Brian Midei and Robbie Demuth on a tie-breaker, but then dominated the second set, 6-2, and won the third, 6-4.
Sinnott said the focus was on bringing the championship back to McDonogh in their senior year.
"We wanted to keep the ball in because we knew we could finish the point off if we had the opportunity," Sinnott said. "You have to stay positive. We definitely had to win it this year."
McDonogh's Alex Sidney won No. 1 singles against Michael Katz. Sidney and Katz are close friends, train together and have been doubles partners in United State Tennis Association tournaments. The two knew each other's tendencies entering the match, but Sidney still prevailed, 6-1, 6-0.
"It's a great relationship," said Sidney, who will play at Cornell next year. "It was a real clean match. I just went out there with a lot of focus. The whole team was just pumped for today."
In No. 2 singles, Gilman's Alec Hoblitzell prevailed against McDonogh freshman Jake Gober. Hoblitzell lost the first three games to Gober, but then got into a rhythm and won the first set on a tie-breaker and the second 6-0.
"I kind of had to feel him out," said Hoblitzell, who will attend Skidmore. "I got really motivated and felt comfortable in the second set. I was just being as aggressive as possible. This was my last team match ever for Gilman."
After Vibav Mouli and Clark Buchman gave McDonogh a 2-1 lead by winning No. 2 doubles, Galen Rende tied it for Gilman by defeating Chris Bell in No. 3 singles. That set up the drama in the No. 1 doubles match and Lazer and Sinnott responded.
"They're not going to lie down and give it to you," said McDonogh coach Laddie Levy, who is 315-52 in his career. "The players are too good and they have too much experience."
MIAA tennis championship
McDonogh 3, Gilman 2
No. 1 Singles: Sidney (MCD) d. Katz (GIL), 6-1, 6-0 No. 2 Singles: Hoblitzell (GIL) d. Gober, 7-6, 6-0 No. 3 Singles: Rende (GIL) d. Bell (MCD), 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 No. 1 Doubles: Lazer and Sinnott (MCD) d. Midei and Demuth, 6-7. 6-2, 6-4 No. 2 Doubles: Mouli and Buchman (MCD) d. Weinstein and Duncan, 6-3, 6-4