Douglas duo falls just short of state |

Douglas duo falls just short of state

by Joey Crandall

Despite a valiant effort to keep their season alive, Josh Sorich and Gabe Grobben saw their bid for a berth into the NIAA 4A State Tennis Tournament come to an abrupt halt Saturday afternoon at the Plumas Tennis Courts in Reno.

Sorich and Grobben, who entered the Northern 4A Regional Tournament as the Sierra League’s No.1 seed, faced match point four times in the final set in a matchup for third place against Manogue’s Casey Gilbert and Gabe Kanzelmeyer before Manogue was finally able to put it away 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 to advance to state.

“It was a good season,” Douglas coach George Sorich said. “Josh had a great career here and Gabe has a great future heading into next year.”

Sorich and Grobben opened with a semifinal matchup against Manogue’s Orion Ashmore and John Kanzelmeyer (Gabe’s brother). Douglas worked out to an early lead behind powerful serving games from both Grobben and Sorich and some heady net play.

Manogue however, started finding ways to make Douglas miss, coming back with five straight games to take the first set.

Kanzelmeyer and Ashmore built a 5-2 lead in the second set and appeared poised to put the match away before Grobben and Sorich mounted a furious comeback.

Sorich worked his powerful serve to win the first game of the comeback and Douglas forced several Manogue mistakes to take the next game.

Grobben blew his serve past the Miners for four straight points to knot the set up at five, but Manogue prevailed through the last two games to take the match and send Douglas into the third-place round. It was the first match Sorich and Grobben had lost as a team this season.

The third-place match lasted nearly two hours, a majority of the points featured at least two or three volleys. Grobben was nearly unstoppable with his serve, winning all three of his games in the first set. Sorich made a number of extremely good shots at the net and won two of his three serving games in the first set.

However, Manogue simply found ways to force Douglas into errors, which drove the Miners to the 6-2 win in the second set. Ashmore and Kanzelmeyer lost to Galena’s top duo, Chris Schwartz and Wes Reimer in the championship round.

Douglas was the only Sierra League duo to make it to the final day of competition. The two Manogue pairs were seeded No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in the High Desert League.

Schwartz and Reimer won 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals and 6-4, 6-3 in the finals. Galena’s Julie Burgarello also rolled to the zone title, winning 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals and 6-0, 6-0 in the finals. Burgarello didn’t lose a game in her five matches at zone.