BRUNSWICK — The Medina boys tennis team started its Greater Cleveland Conference schedule in style.
Senior Maxim Smith and sophomore Carlos Levine posted straight-set victories at the top two singles spots Monday, powering the Bees to a 4-1 triumph over archrival Brunswick at Neura Park.
Medina (2-3, 1-0) also claimed both doubles matches en route to beating the Blue Devils (2-6, 0-2) for the second consecutive season. The squads tied for third place in the GCC last spring.
“With our rivalry, it’s always good to come out on top against Brunswick,” second singles player Levine said. “We have a strong team, and once the weather gets warmer, we’ll see things pick up for all of us.”
The Bees have won five of their last seven league matches dating to last year as they continue to rebuild. All-Gazette selection Smith and Levine have led the surge with consistently competitive play.
Smith topped Blue Devils junior Anirudh Kompella 6-2, 6-1 at first singles, while Levine defeated senior Dominic Olah 6-2, 6-2 on the partly sunny, 64 degree afternoon. Both matches were more competitive than the scores indicate, as Smith and Kompella went almost 90 minutes.
“I would have lost it if I wasn’t strong mentally today,” said Smith, who is in his third year at first singles. “It was definitely a mental win, and hopefully it will allow me to start gaining momentum as we get going in the conference.”
Both teams were in midseason form, recognizing that reigning Gazette MVP and current Cleveland State student Adam Slomski was in the stands looking on. Though Slomski is the only Brunswick player to qualify for the state tournament, he also is friendly with several members of the Bees.
“Adam is one of my good buddies,” Smith said. “It was really nice to see him watching us play today.”
Alex Grdic earned the Blue Devils’ lone point with a 6-1, 6-3 win at third singles over fellow senior Shane Cook. The co-captain used all of his 6-foot-4 frame to keep Cook off balance throughout, nicely continuing his transition from doubles.
“I tried to use my height and attack as much as I could today, but he had a really nice lob,” a chuckling Grdic said. “There were times that he couldn’t get it over me, but there were other times that he made a perfect shot and I had absolutely no chance of getting it.”
Medina juniors Brad Ott and Jacob Scharnweber defeated freshmen Ian Koeth and Dawson Kosh 6-2, 6-1 at first doubles. Senior Jonathan Dexheimer and exchange student Andrej Kovacik won all 12 games at second doubles over Brunswick sophomore Brayden Wessner and freshman Connor Garrity.
Both schools will compete in doubles tournaments Saturday, with the Bees at Highland and the Blue Devils at Cuyahoga Falls. Medina’s lineup has not been set for its event, but Brunswick plans on pairing Kompella and co-captain Olah.
“We have a lot of kids that can play on this team,” Bees coach Alison Snook said. “And unlike in the past, we have doubles options, which is a good thing. I’ll talk to the players before we make any decisions.”
Medina 4, Brunswick 1
Singles: Maxim Smith (M) def. Anirudh Kompella 6-2, 6-1; Carlos Levine (M) def. Dominic Olah 6-2, 6-2; Alex Grdic (B) def. Shane Cook 6-1, 6-3. Doubles: Brad Ott/Jacob Scharnweber (M) def. Ian Koeth/Dawson Kosh 6-2, 6-1; Jonathan Dexheimer/Andrej Kovacik (M) def. Brayden Wessner/Connor Garrity 6-0, 6-0. Records: Medina (2-3, 1-0), Brunswick (2-6, 0-2).