By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Cardinal Newman doubles team of Tom Broffman and Connery Gschwend walked off with the first-place trophy in the NCS Division 2 tournament on Saturday, while singles player Alejandro Serrano Osoba had to settle for second place.
In the championship round played on the College of Marin campus in Kentfield, the Newman duo dispatched No. 1 seed Theo Ubben and Sandy Schenker of Marin Academy 6-0, 6-2.
Meanwhile, top-seeded Osoba lost to Salesian’s Dominic Tu 6-2, 6-4.
It was the second NCS title in three years for the Gschwend family. In 2013, Connery’s older brother Greg teamed up with Dylan Tasker for a victory in the finals.
The younger Gschwend and his partner were dominating and held serve throughout the match.
“We played really well together,” the junior said. “We got to the net a lot and were consistent with our volleys.”
The Newman players and coach Tony Greco watched the Marin Academy duo play an early-round match on Friday.
“They didn’t do anything that could hurt our guys,” Greco said. “If my players stayed strong, I knew we could beat them.”
Broffman and Gschwend played singles during the regular season but decided to form a doubles team for the NCS tournament.
“They complement each other,” Greco said. “Broffman has a strong serve and a good power game. He’s also crafty at the baseline while Gschwend is good at the net. They’re a strong combo.”
The Newman duo didn’t lose a set while winning three matches en route to the title.
‘OUR BEST IN FINALS’
“I think we played our best in the finals,” Broffman said. “We both served well and were more aggressive. Taking first in an NCS tournament was one of my goals, so this feels great.”
The singles final was a David vs. Goliath matchup. Osoba, the North Bay League singles champ, was spotting his Salesian foe size and experience.
“Osoba is a freshman, while his opponent is a senior and was bigger and stronger,” Greco said. “He matched Alejandro’s power and had an experience edge.”
Tu, who upset the No. 2 seed in the semifinals, put Osoba in a hole from the start. The first set was 5-0 before the Newman player got a game.
The second set was nearly the same as Osoba fell behind 4-1 before battling back to make it 5-4. However, the Salesian player was then able to serve out the match.
OSOBA’S ROUGH DAY
“It was a rough day,” Osoba said. “For the most part, I didn’t control the ball and missed badly on some shots I ordinarily make.
“I got back in the match late in the second set but I couldn’t break him when he was up 5-4.”
Osoba plans to return to his native Spain this summer but be back at Newman for his sophomore year.
“I’m very proud of him and the doubles players,” Greco said. “I think Alejandro needs to play experienced players more often. He needs to be challenged more. Don’t forget, he’s only 14.”
The Newman players will be back on the courts Tuesday as the Cardinals host a first-round match in the NCS Division 2 team tournament. The Santa Rosa school, the No. 7 seed, will entertain No. 10 International.
Newman, champions of the NBL, is 20-4 while International finished 7-6 competing in the Bay Counties League.