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University wins All-American Invitational
NEWPORT BEACH – When University coach John Kessler found out who his boys tennis team were going to face in the championship round of the All-American National Invitational, he started to get a bit nervous.
For the second year in a row Menlo of Atherton would be on the other side of the net, and last year, the Trojans didn’t have much luck against the Knights.
On Saturday, though, University barely worked up a sweat, beating top-seeded Menlo, 7-1, here at Palisades Tennis Club to win this prestigious tournament for the second time in three years.
“It is amazing. We worked hard, and they are a great team, so I definitely wasn’t expecting 7-1 for sure,” Kessler said. “Our guys are just tough. They pulled out all the tough points. A lot of the sets could have gone either way. It was great junior tennis.”
University sophomore Gage Brymer, the 20th ranked player in the nation, won all four of his matches on Saturday, beating Cal-bound Andrew Ball, 8-6, in singles during the championship match. Ball broke Brymer’s serve twice, and took a 5-3 lead, but Brymer won five on the next six games to close out the match.
Earlier in the day, University smoked R.J. Reynolds of Winston-Salem, N.C., 7-1, in the semis at The Tennis Club with Brymer, ending the 90-plus match winning streak that senior Robbie Mudge brought into this tournament for the Demons. It was the first loss of Mudge's high school career.
Mudge got off to a fast start, winning the first game of the No. 1 singles match, 40-love, but Brymer broke Mudge's serve three times, won the next five games and took a commanding 6-1 lead. He won the match 8-4.
Brymer teamed with Drew Dawson in doubles, and won 8-2, in the semis against R.J. Reynolds and 8-4 in the championship match.
"Gage is unbelievable. He's hitting that ball two hours ... three hours into the match the same as he does in the beginning," Kessler said. "He's just in great mental and physical shape. I thought Andrew Ball was dictating the match, and for him to hang in there and turn it around was amazing."