ODA boys top Saint Stephen's 4-1 to advance to 1A state tournament.
Conner Krug's 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kevin Jiang of Saint Stephen's Episcopal School gave the host Out-of-Door Academy its third straight boys region tennis championship Thursday.
Krug's win at No. 2 singles gave the Thunder an insurmountable 4-0 lead. No doubles matches were played because the title had already been decided during singles play. The Thunder wound up with a 4-1 triumph.
"We had to fight for every point and game," ODA coach Kieran Killigrew said. "I didn't want the kids to get overconfident. We went to their house (at Saint Stephen's) last year and we upset them for the region title."
Krug's twin brother, Jake Krug, won his match 6-4, 6-4 over the Falcons' George Krouzek at No. 3 singles.
"We've got a young team," Killigrew said. "The two twins joined the team in the sixth grade. Now they're freshmen."
Eighth-grader Jakob Svoboda defeated Graham Hadesman of Saint Stephen's 6-0, 6-2 to claim the crown at No. 4 singles. The Thunder also won at No. 5 singles when freshman Quinn Isacc topped Noah Van Dyke by the score of 6-2, 6-2.
The Falcons did manage to win one match. Max Damm earned a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over the Thunder senior Josh Samuel at No. 1 singles.
ODA lost to the eventual state champions from Ransom Everglades last year in the first round of the Class 1A state tournament. In 2016, the Thunder lost to Port St. Lucie Morningside in round one of the state tournament.
The Thunder are ready to give it another shot at Altamonte Springs, the site of this year's Class 1A state competition, beginning on Monday. They will find out who their first-round opponent is today.
"We like our chances this year," Killigrew said. "We actually have a stronger team than we did last year."