Mount St. Joseph caps undefeated tennis season with an MIAA title
By By Todd Karpovich
Special to The Baltimore Sun|
May 11, 2012 | 9:31 PM
Mount St. Joseph tennis coach Tom Hughes knew he had something special the first day his team stepped onto the court for its first practice in early March.
Most of the players had already spent much of the year improving their skills, so they were already in mid-season form by the first drill. The Gaels then went undefeated through the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association regular season and knocked off defending champion McDonogh in the playoffs, dropping just one game in that entire stretch. In Friday's team championship against Gilman, the Gaels won their first MIAA title, 4-1.
Prior to this year, Gilman (6) or McDonogh (9) had won 15 of the past 16 MIAA tennis titles with Calvert Hall being the only exception in 2001.
"It's good to be on top," Hughes said. "McDonogh and Gilman have such great programs. For us to be here is a great honor. We are a close-knit team."
Mount St. Joseph (12-0) has four nationally ranked players in juniors Jordan Portner, Tristan Boustany and Colin Crawford and senior Matt Bishop. The Gaels won their opening three matches Friday and had clinched the championship before Portner finished his victory over Gilman's Galen Rende in the No. 1 singles match, 7-6 (10-8), 3-6, 10-6.
The 6-foot-1 Portner is already being recruited by several Ivy League schools. He played No. 2 and won an individual title as a freshman and has grown five inches since to become the area's dominant player.
"I knew it was going to be tough," Portner said about his match against Rende. "I just had to hold my serve. We just wanted to close it out. It's good to finally win it."
Boustany won No. 2 singles against Garrett Weinstein, 6-3, 6-4. Bishop won No. 3 singles over Cole Sutton, 6-3, 6-1. And Crawford and Kevin Gates won No. 1 doubles, 6-2, 6-3 over Huntington Williams and Jordan Brodie.
In 2010, the Gaels also finished the regular season undefeated but lost to Gilman, 3-2, in the championship.
"This is crazy," said Bishop, who will attend Elon next season. "We had an opportunity my sophomore year, but to come back and win it my senior year is just awesome. We just have been playing solid all year and have a lot of experienced players."
Gilman (10-3) salvaged a victory in No. 2 doubles as Henry Barnett and Robby Demuth defeated Matt Phelps and Quentin Boustany, 6-3, 7-6.
"I'm very proud of my guys, they came to play," Gilman coach Steve Krulevitz said. "It was a good high school tennis match. It was high quality. Great season for us. We have a lot of sophomores and freshman."