RALEIGH — The shot from Middle Creek freshman Nick Stachowiak was a back-breaker in any circumstance. In this case, it all but claimed the N.C. High School Athletic 4A singles championship.
Wakefields Bo Boyden had returned a drop shot that was slicing away from Stachowiak. Sliding in, Stachowiaks racket made contact just before it hit the ground a second time. It was a flat shot, but cleared the net by an inch before it landed just inside the opposite line.
And thats how Stachowiak ended the first set of his 4A state championship title a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Boyden, who was last years state champ.
I felt like Rafa Nadal out there a little angle slide, Stachowiak said.
The two were linked together entering the match.
On May 24, theyll play together as a doubles team at the Tar Heel Qualifier in Winston-Salem, a junior USTA tournament.
Both are the kind of highly-recruited players who usually dont play high school tennis because of its conflicts with national junior tournaments.
But they opt to play high school, citing the team atmosphere and sense of community pride as big reasons why.
Boyden won the title as a freshman, and now so has Stachowiak.
Stachowiak has yet to lose in singles or doubles for Middle Creek. He started feeling sick Friday, but won three matches to advance to Saturdays final.
Today, before the match, I asked him if he was OK and he said Dont worry coach, I got it, Middle Creek coach Rhonda Blanchard said. When he was down 1-0 in the second set, you could see him rise to another level.
Boyden, a sophomore, had just one loss in his high school singles career entering last week when he had to injury default due to cramping.
Boyden has lost twice since then, to Stachowiak in the Mideast regional and now the state title.
I wasnt making as many balls as I should have. I didnt play terrible, I just kept my emotions on my sleeve and it kind of hurt me in the end, Boyden said.
Both players said they plan on continuing to play for their high schools. Stachowiak, ranked as the No. 17 freshman player in the nation, talked of having the target on his back next year.
I think its great, with all the kids who play on select teams and stuff, that a kid will turn down a national tournament to play for his high school. I wish there were more kids like that. I have a lot of respect for Nick and for Bo for choosing to stay here and represent their schools, Blanchard said.
Millbrook duo falls in doubles title
Millbrooks doubles team of sophomore John Karlawish and senior Chris Mahan found themselves rallying from early deficits in both sets against Jack Riazzi and Paul Yamane of Winston-Salem Reynolds.
They couldnt make up enough ground, however, losing 7-5, 6-3.
Weve seen some good teams on the way here, but I dont think we had seen any team as aggressive as they were. I think it took a few games to get used to it, Millbrook coach Scott Wofford said.
Wofford said Karlawish and Mahan had chemistry and creativity that was hard to beat.
Individually, theyre both very good. They both have very complementary personalities and styles, Wofford said.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps