Blend, Bachmann lead Panthers’strong state meet

MATT PRIMOZIC of Plymouth serves to his fifirst-round opponent in singles action Thursday at the state tennis tournament. — Photo by Lisa Binversie MATT PRIMOZIC of Plymouth serves to his fifirst-round opponent in singles action Thursday at the state tennis tournament. — Photo by Lisa Binversie MADISON – Seniors Steven Blend and Ben Bachmann of Plymouth tied for seventh place in doubles play at the Division 2 boys state individual tennis tournament, held Thursday through Saturday at UW-Madison’s Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

Blend and Bachmann led a strong showing by the PHS contingent at state. The Panthers’ three entries combined for four victories in seven matches.

Also competing for PHS were sophomore Matt Primozic in singles, and the doubles team of sophomore Gabe Binversie and younger brother, Gavin, a freshman. Primozic and the Binversie duo were 1-1 in the tourney.

Blend and Bachmann finished the tourney 2-2, including a hardfought 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over the Binversies in Friday’s second round. Blend and Bachmann then lost to eventual state champion and No. 1 seeded Mike Mirsberger and Tommy Matoska of Catholic Memorial (Waukesha) in the quarterfinals, 0-6, 2-6.

On Saturday in a consolation first-round match, Bachmann and Blend fell to Zach Schneck and Andrew Buchanan of University School of Miwaukee, 0-6, 3-6. Schneck and Buchanan then lost in the fifth-place match to finish sixth.

Bachmann and Blend won their first-round match Thursday impressively, 6-0, 6-3, over Baldwin-Woodville’s John Berg and Nick Nilssen.

The Binversie team rolled to a 7-5, 6-2 win in first-round play versus Stevens Point Pacelli’s Lucas Mancheski and Phil Grygleski.

Primozic cruised in the first round, 6-2, 6-0, over Bill O’Brien of Edgewood Sacred Heart. In the second round, the PHS player fell to eventual runner-up Kai Sane of University School, 1-6, 2-6.

“I am really proud of the results for Plymouth at the state tournament. Our school had the second-most total qualifiers,” said Panther head coach Clare Sedlacek.

“The guys really had a great tournament. We were a little unlucky in terms of the draw with all our entries, especially with our doubles teams, but that is the way it goes.

“I am so proud of all our guys. We represented PHS, the Eastern Wisconsin Conference, Sheboygan County and public schools in a great way.

“We were one of only two public schools who had an entry playing on the final day of the tournament. I think that says a lot about the success of our season,” said Sedlacek.

“It was very frustrating for me to have them [doubles teams] playing each other in the second round. I really feel teams should be on opposite halves of the draw.

“Gabe and Gavin played a superb first set. It was a tense match the whole way, and Steven and Ben fought back in the second to even the score at one set apiece.

“Gabe and Gavin got an early break [in set three] and were up a break at 5-4 when Steven and Ben broke back and then ran out the set with a service hold and another service break,” the coach pointed out.

“I am very proud of both our teams with the way they were able to compete against each other in a less-than-desirable situation.

“The eventual D-2 runner-up [Sane] is a great player but we were a little disappointed that Matt had to play him so early in the tournament. I’m so proud of Matt’s efforts all season and especially at state,” Sedlacek said.

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