New Albany, Bexley win OTCA district titles

Always one to set the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district championship as a goal before every season, New Albany coach Marc Thomas found himself short of words after the Eagles clinched their fifth consecutive state berth.

Maybe that was because none of the team’s previous four district finals concluded quite like the Eagles’ 3-2 win over visiting Dublin Jerome on May 20.

First-singles player Declan Freedhoff kept New Albany’s hopes alive by erasing a 3-0 deficit in the second set to defeat Max Fickas 6-3, 7-5, but the biggest comeback came at first doubles. Trailing 5-2 in the second set and facing triple match point, Ben Bilenko and Abhinav Dandu rallied to beat Tanish Pairu and Max Stratford 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 in a match that took almost 2.5 hours.

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