By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Cardinal Newman will be well represented Saturday in the finals of the North Coast Section Division 2 tennis championships.
After posting wins in Friday’s opening rounds, Alejandro Serrano Osoba will play for the singles title, while the doubles team of Connery Gschwend and Tom Broffman will also vie for gold medals.
Both matches begin at 10 a.m. on the College of Marin (Kentfield) campus.
Redwood Empire athletes didn’t do nearly as well in Division 1 play. No one survived Friday’s opening rounds.
Osoba, winner of the NBL singles tournament, eliminated Arcata’s Antoine Maraval in the first round (6-3, 4-6, 6-2) and ousted Branson’s Krish Chinai (6-4, 6-0) in the quarterfinals.
Broffman and Gschwend had an easier time. They took care of Middletown’s duo of Chris King-Robert Amante (6-0, 6-1) and advanced to the finals by defeating Hercules’ Rishab Vaidhynathan and DiAngelo Soriano (6-1, 6-2).
It took Osoba 2½ hours to get through his first match.
“I was a little nervous and the courts were a little slippery,” the freshman said.
After dropping the second set, he began taking advantage of short balls from his opponent and won the deciding set handily.
“We had long points,” Osoba said. “I was tired by the end of the match.”
The native of Spain had 30 minutes to recuperate and then was back on the court. He was down 4-3 in the opening set before getting his second wind and reeling off nine consecutive games to advance to the championship.
Osoba will play Salesian’s Dominic Tu for the championship. Tu defeated No. 2 seed Will Thatcher in the semifinals.
Having Gschwend and Broffman in the doubles finals was somewhat a surprise, since both played singles during the regular season.
“This is the first time we’ve played doubles together,” Gschwend said. “I’m really enjoying it because I like to volley. I had lots of chances to cross over and poach.”
Broffman said he had a slight case of nerves in the first match.
“By the second match everything was clicking,” he said. “It was awesome.”
In the Division 1 tournament at Chabot College, Analy’s Nick Wight and Rancho Cotate’s Alec Wong both went out in the first round.
Wight, the SCL champ, lost to De La Salle’s Marcus Ferreira (6-1, 6-2).
“It wasn’t good,” Wight said. “It was a combination of poor footwork and poor concentration.”
Wong, the reigning All-Empire Player of the Year, felt he played well. He lost the first set in an 8-6 tiebreaker to Acalanes’ Kyle Everly and went down in the second by a score of 6-2.
“The first set could’ve gone either way,” the junior said. “My opponent just got those big points at the end. He’s a good player.”
In Division 1 doubles, Sonoma Valley’s James McKale and Sam Sondheim won their first-round match and then were eliminated.