MORGANTOWN – Buckhannon-Upshur’s Caden Andrick just missed out on a spot in the state tournament at the Region I Tournament held last Thursday and Friday in Morgantown’s Marilla Park.
Playing at No. 2 singles as the fourth seed, Andrick defeated Wyatt Andrews of Wheeling Park by an 8-2 score in the first round on Thursday but lost a hard-fought 8-6 second round decision to Max Phillips-Hartley of Morgantown.
Andrick came back on Friday in the consolation match to see who would advance to the state tournament but lost an 8-6 decision to Brooke’s Nick Pollock.
“Caden played two really solid matches on Thursday,” remarked B-U head coach Jason Rock. “His first match against Andrews during the regular season was a 9-7 loss. He left no doubt this time about who the better player was and took care of business with an 8-2 win. Against the Morgantown kid, he played really, really well but just came up short. His Friday match was a tough one with Brooke’s Pollock. We didn’t get to play Brooke during the season because they were unable to schedule us so neither of these guys had seen each other before. Caden jumped off to an early lead, but it was close the entire match and eventually Pollock pulled ahead. Both kids played really hard and it was one of those matches that you hate to see someone lose because both had great seasons and deserved a chance to play at states.”
Hank Phillips and Mauricio Menendez both went 1-1 for the Bucs.
Phillips was the No. 2 seed playing at No. 3 singles and beat Nate Flowers of John Marshall easily by an 8-3 score but lost in the second round to Aiden Aggawral of Morgantown by an 8-3 score.
“Hank did well in his first match, but to me, seemed like he couldn’t find his groove in the second match,” noted Rock. “He had two close matchups with Aggawral during the season and he seemed locked in but Hank just couldn’t seem to get going. Although he didn’t make states, which was our goal, he had an incredible season as a first-year player, because COVID-19 canceled his freshman season.”
Menendez played at No. 4 and downed Josh Jackson of Bridgeport by an 8-5 count in the first round but lost to Morgantown’s Bennett Hall by an 8-3 score in the second round.
“Mauricio lost to Jackson 8-1 in the Big 10 finals so it was great to see him play more how we know he can play and get the better of him,” remarked Rock. “Against Hall, he was up 3-0 and you could sense some panic in the Morgantown camp, but Hall turned it on, and Mauricio didn’t have an answer. I have been trying to get Mauricio to hit less unforced errors all year and cut down on mistakes and he definitely did that in both matches which I think made for some competitive matches. I was proud of his performances.”
The Bucs came up empty in doubles action despite a lengthy battle at No. 2
Andrick and Phillips as the No. 2 duo, took Bridgeport’s Jackson and Jensen Clayton to a tiebreaker but lost 9-8 (7-4).
“To me the difference in this match was Caden and Hank had played two hard fought singles matches and Bridgeport’s Jackson had one singles match against Mauricio earlier in the day and Clayton didn’t play singles, so he was fresh. Bridgeport played the best match I’ve seen from them all year (When we played them in the season and in Big 10 Tournament, they weren’t this good!). It’s a bummer because I definitely had hopes of states for these two guys, but they had a great season overall!”
At No. 1 doubles, Pitts and Menendez, fell to Bridgeport’s Ty Gandy and Paul Hong (8-3) and at No. 3, Garrett Materne and Bailey Cleavenger lost to University’s Salah Abunnaja and Julian Stealy (8-3).
“Aden and Mauricio have played Bridgeport enough to know how to beat them but they couldn’t make it happen on the court,” stated Rock. “They couldn’t get their shots in and against a team like Bridgeport, you can’t make too many mistakes or it’s over. Garrett and Bailey went up early 3-0 but University started hitting angles that ultimately got to us. These two fought through a lot of adversity this season and I’m proud of how far they’ve come.”
No. 1 – Aden Pitts
First Round -- Lost to Ataes Aggarwal (Morgantown) 8-1
No. 2 – Caden Andrick
First Round – Defeated Wyatt Andrews (Wheeling Park), 8-2
Second Round – Lost to Max Phillips-Hartley (Morgantown), 8-6
Consolation Round – Lost to Nick Pollock (Brooke), 8-6
No. 3 – Hank Phillips
First Round – Defeated Nate Flowers (John Marshall), 8-0
Second Round – Lost to Aiden Aggawral (Morgantown), 8-3.
No. 4 – Mauricio Menendez
First Round – Defeated Josh Jackson (Bridgeport), 8-5
Second Round – Lost to Bennett Hall (Morgantown), 8-3
No. 1 – Pitts/Menendez
First Round – Lost to Ty Gandy/Paul Hong (Bridgeport), 8-3
No. 2 – Andrick/Phillips
First Round – Lost to Josh Jackson/Jensen Clayton (Bridgeport), 9-8 (7-4)
No. 3 – Garrett Materne/Bailey Cleavenger
First Round -- Lost to Salah Abunnaja/Julian Stealey (University), 8-3.