By Josh Brown
DAYTON — Troy’s Shane Essick wanted payback for an earlier loss.
Nick Prus and Andrew Magoteaux were out to avenge fallen teammates.
Both got what they were after, capturing sectional championships in the process at the Division I sectional tennis finals Saturday at Dayton Center Courts after rain in Troy moved the semifinal and final rounds indoors.
Essick was strong all day, defeating No. 4 seed Mitchell Foland from Tecumseh 6-3, 6-2 to earn a shot at the title against top-seeded Nick Pavlatos from Springfield — who he’d already seen twice this season.
And while Pavlatos played well, also, the Troy sophomore never let control slip away and led from start to finish in a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
“It feels great,” Essick said. “Nick’s a great player. He beat me during the season, but I beat him at GWOC. It’s great to finally beat him in a full match (the GWOC tournament’s matches are pro sets).
“I’d break, then he’d break. I’d hold serve, then he’d hold. When he held at 40-love, 40-15, it set me back a bit, but I just had to keep playing strong.”
“Shane played really well today,” Troy coach Mark Goldner said. “He went right after Pavlatos. He came to the net and hit a lot of short, deep volleys. We’d talked about it before, but today he executed it. I’m really happy that he got to avenge that earlier loss and come out of the sectional as a No. 1 seed.”
And while it’s Essick’s second trip to the district tournament — which will be held in Centerville next week — this will be his first time going as a top seed.
“It feels better than last year,” he said. “I was a No. 3 last year and had to play a No. 2 from Sycamore. I’m just going to play my heart out at district, but win or lose, I’m proud of myself for winning this today.”
Top-seeded Prus and Magoteaux, meanwhile, got a little extra motivation on Friday. Butler’s third-seeded doubles team of Denish Patel and Morgan Jackson defeated Troy’s Carter Hench and Jack Johnston 6-3, 6-7 (9), 6-4 in a match that had been postponed from Thursday’s play.
“Considering Butler beat our second doubles team yesterday, we were going for revenge,” Prus said. “We couldn’t lose to our nemesis.”
After Troy defeated Greenville in one three-setter, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 to start Saturday and reach the title match, they started out slow again against Butler, dropping the first set in a tiebreaker 6-7 (5).
“They picked it back up,” Goldner said. “They were up 4-3 and serving, then 5-4 and serving, and went on to lose that set. To come back from that, that’s pretty darn good.”
With the second set tied 2-2, Prus and Magoteaux ran off the next four straight to win 6-2. They then got down 2-1 in the third, only to rally and put it away 6-3 and win the title.
“You’ve just got to be strong mentally,” Magoteaux said of the comebacks. “You’ve got to keep playing hard, no matter what. It’s all about confidence.”
“They had a tough first set against Greenville, too,” Goldner said. “They had a sluggish start but pulled through. Once it got to the third set, it was all mental. It was all about who was going to be the toughest mentally, and fortunately, we were.
They gave a great effort. All three guys gave a great effort.”
* Division II
Milton-Union’s Philip Brumbaugh, Logan Dickison and Luke Ferguson are all no stranger to the district tournament.
They simply all found themselves in new situations this season.
Brumbaugh — who went to state with older brother Matt last year — teamed up with Logan Dickison to burn through the doubles competition and win a Division II sectional championship, while Ferguson — Dickison’s partner last season — qualified for district as a singles player and placed fourth in the sectional Saturday at Dayton Center Courts.
Brumbaugh and Dickison defeated Urbana’s Shank and Coffey 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinal round Saturday, then they obliterated Urbana’s Eggleston and Kitchen 6-1, 6-0 in the championship match to claim the title.
“It’s way different,” Brumbaugh said of the new team-up. “Matt was the leader of the team last year. Logan and I are pretty even. We’ve both got our strengths and weaknesses. We played together a little earlier this year, at the CJ doubles tournament, and we’ve been practicing together a lot leading up to now.
“Phil sets up a lot of lobs,” Dickison said. “It’s been weird. I’ve played with a lot of different kids all year. Most of the time, I take the leadership role because I’ve played the most doubles on the team.”
It was the senior Dickison’s first sectional title — the junior Brumbaugh won one with his brother last season en route to state.
“They played well today,” Milton-Union coach Roger Davidson said. “They haven’t played together much until now. Philip didn’t decide what he was going to do for the tournament until later. Luke had played singles all year, Logan’s a really good doubles players, and looking at who was back where, we thought maybe doubles would be the best chance to get to state.”
Ferguson, the No. 3 singles seed, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Kenton Ridge’s Chris Kalweit, then he lost 6-0, 6-0 to No. 4 Yellow Springs’ Augie Knemeyer to take the fourth seed into the district tournament.
“Luke’s been playing really well the last couple weeks,” Davidson said. “He’s been at the district tournament before with Logan in doubles, and now he’s made it in singles. Now it’s all about the luck of the draw. Nothing else matters but the draw after today. We’ve had good luck with it before, and we’ve had bad luck. But now it’s all about how they draw.”
Milton-Union will compete at the district tournament Wednesday at Centerville, while Troy will compete Thursday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.