Six years ago Cardinal Gibbons’ boys won a fourth straight N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A dual-team tennis title before moving up to the 3A for the 2009-10 school year.
Well, the Crusaders now are two wins away from saying farewell to 3A with a fifth straight team title and eighth in nine years. Cardinal Gibbons defeated Fayetteville Terry Sanford in the quarterfinals Monday at Godbold Park.
The Crusaders, who will move up to 4A next school year, needed only 75 minutes to sweep six singles matches to clinch the victory and negate the need to contest doubles.
Penn State-bound Matt Galush, who won the state 3A individual singles title Saturday, led the Crusaders at No. 1 singles with a 6-1, 6-2 win. He improved his singles record to 18-1 for the year.
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Galush is the team’s four-year veteran, but two other two seniors, Kyle Fitzgerald and Louie Velasco, are returning starters counted on to score important team points.
Fitzgerald, a third-year starter playing this year at No. 5 singles, won 6-0, 6-1.
“I won a state title as a sophomore and junior, so it will be good to win three years in a row,” he said. “We want to finish strong and add to our collection of medals.”
Velasco, a second-year starter at No. 6 singles, won 6-1, 6-0.
“My freshman year was probably our best team,” Velasco said of the 2012 season. “I remember how competitive it was. I saw how hard it was to make the lineup. We knew we had to practice a lot in the offseason to make the singles lineup.”
Cardinal Gibbons’ other three team points were scored by underclassmen that will carry the Crusaders’ banner into the 4A ranks.
Junior Jim Mantyh won at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1; sophomore Kyler Zadell at No. 3, 6-0, 6-2; and sophomore Brody Chapman at No. 4, 6-1, 6-0.
Cardinal Gibbons advanced to play in the semifinals Wednesday.