Jesuit combo beats Sunset's Lin and Chin for district crown

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit senior Nathan Lortz hits a serve at the Sunset doubles team in the Metro District Championship on Saturday. Lortz and Michael Quinn took first in Metro.

Nathan Lortz and Michael Quinn didn't care if they were unranked, under-the-radar and relatively unknown in the Metro boys' doubles district championship match.

This spontaneous medley of the tested senior Lortz and the fresh-faced freshman Quinn — merged together in early April by head coach Jeff Wood — was oblivious to the anxiety that accompanies playing Sunset's Jared Lin and Ryan Chin the top-ranked doubles' team in Metro.

Playing undauntedly and unhinged, Lortz and Quinn faced three match points in the second set, but fought back from the brink to stave off elimination to even it 6-6 and win the tiebreaker. Their confidence swelling with each proceeding point, the duo kept the pressure on the Apollo combo, and in time took a 6-7 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win.

“We just kept our composure, stayed strong and kept it going,” said Quinn. “The main thing was our positive attitudes. Even though we were losing, we'd still stay strong. We were just having fun and enjoying the experience. Our main goal was to make it to state, but it's an extra treat to win districts.”

“We didn't have any pressure because we unseeded,” added Lortz. “We got to swing free and see what happens. The crowd wasn't getting to us much. There was a lot of energy out there from our supporters so it was pretty electric out there.”

Quinn said though he and Lortz hadn't played much together this season other than a few smaller tournaments, the duo was able to build a fast rapport. That chemistry was instrumental against Chin and Lin who reached the 2013 district final, but were dethroned by Jesuit's Andrew Newell and Tommy Mulfur.

“We're a freshman and a senior, but we're equals on the court,” said Lortz. “We're both players that can handle the pressure and get the job done. I think that's really helped, that we both feel confident in each other. We can both rely on each other as equals.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior Jared Lin swings at a ball in the third set of the Apollos doubles championship loss to Jesuit on Saturday.

Lortz said being a senior and getting to end his time at Jesuit with title meant a lot in many ways. Having not qualified for state the past couple years and been victimized by Chin and Lin the district quarterfinals last season, Lortz laid claim to a championship that was worthy of praise.

“We knew we had a chance even though we were unseeded and (Chin and Lin) were the top seed,” said Quinn. “We knew we had to play well against (Chin and Lin) because they're a tough team and we have to respect them because they're good. But we found a way and gave it our all.”

Chin and Lin were kicking themselves somewhat after giving up those four match points, but each was single-minded about putting the defeat behind them and looking ahead to state.

“Sometimes when you lose you come back hungry for more,” said Lin. “Every time we go on the court at state we want to play our best game. This has kind of motivated us to get a little better and hopefully win state next week.”

“I think state's more important than this,” added Chin. “We have to come up with a new strategy to beat (Lortz and Quinn) next time. We have to be able to finish it. We can't be tentative out there.”

Chin was in visible agony in the second and third sets, suffering from a bout of leg cramps that debilitated his usual feline-like quickness and ability to dart around the court. Combine the cramping with Lortz and Quinn's increasing swagger and a few Apollo off-line serves and you have the formula for an upset, one Lin hopes won't reappear again.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset doubles team of Jared Lin and Ryan Chin hope to bounce back at the 6A state championships this weekend after dropping the Metro championship.

The loss if anything, Lin said, will fan the Apollo duo's flame this week as they prepare for the 6A state championship bracket. And, the combo's motivation could come from a number of sources.

“We gotta make a bunch of posters of those Jesuit guys and shoot darts at them,” joked Lin. “They're nice guys and good players. It's the school and the name. We can't lose to Jesuit again. It's always tough to out there, play a match and choke. But, that just makes you want to kill them next time.”

“We can get them, we know we can get them,” added Chin. “We just have to finish those points and go for everything.”

Mulflur and his new doubles' partner Alex Centurion were upset by Lortz and Quinn, but clinched Metro's third seed and will compete at state. Jesuit's Joseph Chen and Patrick Quinn fourth place helped the Crusaders clinch yet another district crown.

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