The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


April 10, 2014

Spartans pull a stunner

Conneaut conquers Geneva in tennis for second time in a half-century

How often does Conneaut beat Geneva in boys tennis?

About as often as the Browns win an NFL championship.

It happened Wednesday... at Geneva.

Coach Dave Simpson’s Spartans pulled off a shocker, recording a 3-2 non-conference triumph, at Geneva, no less.

Simpson, now in his 15th season at the helm of the varsity Spartans after spending 11 seasons coaching Conneaut’s junior high squads, was understandably proud of his squad.

“This is only the second time in 50 years Conneaut has beaten Geneva in tennis,” he said. “It’s quite a thrill to be able to win against a program with the amazing tradition and amount of success as Geneva. We have total respect for them, which makes the victory even more meaningful.”

With the match between the former longtime Northeastern Conference rivals tied at 2-2, only the first-doubles match — featuring junior Jacob Edwards and sophomore Alex Gerdes for Conneaut and Louis Murphy and Anthony Barszczewski for Geneva — was still being contested.

“It was quite a scene and atmosphere,” Simpson said. “Everyone else was done and everyone knew what was at stake, so all eyes were focused on that court.”

Edwards, a junior, and his partner, Gerdes, a sophomore came through with flying colors, rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph.

“For Jacob and Alex to do that, especially after losing the first set, was really impressive,” Simpson said. “It was really an awesome scene and it was great to see them come through in the manner they did.”

The other Spartan victories were recorded at second singles — by Scott Gerdes, Conneaut’s lone senior, who defeated Geneva’s Mike Keenan, 6-1, 6-1 — and third singles — by sophomore Rashad Al-Arabi, who knocked off Geneva’s Mitch Felde, 6-3, 6-4.

Geneva (2-1, 2-0 in the Premier Athletic Conference) prevailed at first singles, where Brock Ebersole bested Adam Laitinen, 6-0, 6-0, and at second doubles, where Josh Roney and Zack Stehura topped Sean O’Meara and Adam Bissett, 6-4, 6-3.

Neither squad was at full strength for the match, according to Simpson.

“Geneva had a guy missing, but we did, too,” he said.

For Simpson, who was the head coach the only other time Conneaut beat Geneva in tennis, back in 2004 at Conneaut, it was a proud moment for his squad, which has only one senior and also features one junior, six sophomores and one freshman.

“We have only nine guys,” he said. “But we have a really strong team this year and these guys really work at the game and want to improve.

“For them to go to a place such as Geneva, where they have that door that lists all their incredible accomplishments in the sport, and come home with a victory is such an honor.

“I’m very proud of my guys. They earned this.”

Text Only
  • run VanHoy racing on

    Geneva track star Hailey VanHoy had a near unbelievable run of success during her final months running for the Eagles.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video