Staff Writer

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP - Because of Andrew Martin's one-fer, the Jefferson Falcons tennis team got a two-fer Thursday.

Two for one, that is, after the Falcons finished a match postponed because of rain on Apr. 4 with a 3-2 victory over Edgewood. Then, with all of the other players on both teams watching intently and the match hanging in the balance, Martin outlasted Warrior Matt Liszewski, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to bring Jefferson a second triumph, again 3-2 over Edgewood.

Martin and Liszewski had to be feeling the effects of their day, which started with the conclusion of the earlier match between the two and ended with Martin coming back from a 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2 loss to Liszewski earlier.

"There could not have been something sweeter than you finishing the victory," Jefferson coach Lou Murphy told Martin afterward.

"I decided I was going to play as hard as I could whether or not Greg (Buchan) won," Martin said of the other match that could have decided the team winner. "I knew it was the decisive match. We did a lot of conditioning. Coach Murphy did a nice job with that."

The double victory kept the Falcons (8-1, 5-1 in the NEC) in a tie with Geneva and Lakeside in the Northeastern Conference. But Murphy feels, with both Edgewood matches behind him, his team has the edge.

"This puts us in the driver's seat right now," he said. "Our destiny is up to us, at least as far as tennis goes."

Edgewood coach Bryce Heinbaugh admitted that his Warriors (4-3, 3-3 in the NEC) have an uphill battle in the NEC after the double dip.

"It's tough," Heinbaugh said. "With three losses, we may be out of the running. This doesn't make it easy.

"We're just looking to play tough the rest of the year. If things work in our favor and we get a couple of upsets, that could bring us back into it."

Martin had a 5-4 lead in the second set Thursday when Liszewski

got momentum going, took three games in a row for a 7-5 victory and went up in the third set, 1-0. But Martin rode it out and with some sharp returns, avenged his earlier loss to Liszewski.

That was necessary because Edgewood's Zach Kortyka had come back from an earlier 6-3, 6-3 loss (completed on Apr. 4) during the third-singles match against Buchan and a first-set loss Thursday to beat Buchan, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

"He was just getting it back and I was hitting into the net," Kortyka said. "I found if I hit it into the back corner, I could get up to the net and put it away."

Heinbaugh knew the Warriors needed to win all three singles matches to get the team triumph. The Jefferson doubles teams of Tyler Thaxton-Jeremiah Patterson and Jack Wynn-Joe Perry enjoyed a big advantage in experience over their Edgewood counterparts, Greg Stolfer-Kyle Woodard and Dan Henderson-Tyler Stasko.

Thaxton-Patterson won both matches, 6-4, 7-5 and 6-3, 6-3. Similarly, Wynn-Perry shut down Henderson-Stasko, 6-2, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-1.

"Definitely, we'd like our doubles to win, but we all have confidence in our singles," Wynn said, diplomatically.

Thaxton-Patterson have been teamed for about a year now. That helps, Patterson said.

"There's a lot to knowing your partner, being able to predict what he's going to be doing. That helps tremendously."

"It's a lot of fun," Perry said of his pairing with Wynn. "We both make each other laugh. We make it fun."

Other than the Jefferson doubles teams, Edgewood's Matt McCormack was the most dominant player in the matches, beating Mike Harden, 6-3, 6-4 on Apr. 4 and 6-2, 6-1 Thursday.

By the end of the match Thursday, Liszewski and Martin were showing the effects of a long day. Martin seemed to get a burst of energy as 7 p.m. rolled around and finished the double victory off for the Falcons.

"We had conditioned," Murphy said. "This is an awesome group of guys."

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