Newman duo takes NCS doubles trophy

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Greg Gscwhend and Dylan Tasker practiced together only once in preparation for the North Coast Section Division 2 doubles tournament, but that proved to be enough as the Cardinal Newman teammates took home the first-place trophy Saturday at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

In the finals, Gscwhend and Tasker lost the first set to Bishop O’Dowd’s Travis Lynds and Florian Greschner before rallying to win the match. The scores were 6-7, 6-2 and 7-6 (8-6 in the tiebreaker).

With the score tied 6-6 in the third set, the Newman players got a mini-break and Tasker successfully served for the match.

Gscwhend and Tasker became a team two days before Friday’s first round. Tasker was expecting to play with Tim McCullough, his partner last year at NCS when they finished third.

However, McCullough had committed to taking a college placement exam that couldn’t be rescheduled and was unavailable.

“Dylan asked me earlier in the week if I wanted to play with him,” Gscwhend said. “The only time we practiced was Thursday.”

Most of the time, newly formed doubles teams have communication problems during points. That was not the case Saturday.

“Amazingly, we didn’t have have any mix-ups,” Gscwhend said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Cardinals coach Tony Greco said the teams had contrasting styles. The Bishop O’Dowd players hit hard strokes from the baseline while the Newman players were continually trying to get to the net.

“Our strategy was to keep moving forward,” Tasker said. “We never got away from our game plan.

“Also, I think we handled our nerves better than our opponents. We were all nervous at the start. However, we settled down after losing the first set (7-2 was the tiebreaker score).”

In Friday’s opening rounds, the two advanced on a default and then beat a team from College Prep.

Both Tasker and Gscwhend competed in singles during the North Bay League regular season. The former played No. 1 for the Cardinals and the latter alternated between No. 2 and No. 3.

Cardinal Newman and Casa Grande tied for first in the NBL and the Cardinals won a playoff last Tuesday.

The other players representing the Redwood Empire in NCS were eliminated Friday.

Maria Carrillo’s duo of Arthur Lai and Ankur Goswami won a first-round match in Div. 1, but lost in the semifinals to a team from Redwood.

Kevin Cox and Cole Simpson of Petaluma were also in Div. 1 and they dropped a first-round match to Alameda.

Matt Halligan, winner of the NBL singles tournament, lost to No. 1 seed Miguel Diaz of Castro Valley, 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of Div. 1.

St. Helena’s Rory Winters was eliminated by eventual champion Michael Guzman of Justin-Siena, 6-1, 6-2 in an opening-round Div. 2 match.

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