One could forgive veteran Nicolet boys tennis coach Tim Koppa for wanting to kick back with a good stiff drink and a nap on Sunday afternoon after completing his yearly duties of running "Wisconsin's best tournament short of state" again for another year.
But what would the Nicolet Sweet 16 be without Koppa or its annual dose of rain, which of course arrived right on schedule for Friday's start to one of the world's greatest cooperative water-logged events since the original Woodstock?
"Maybe later," chuckled Koppa at the thought of the nap Sunday afternoon. "I'm just glad that a big part of the matches got done on Saturday (after an abbreviated schedule on Friday). Some of the backdraw on Saturday (at Cedarburg and Grafton) didn't get done simply because there wasn't enough time in the day."
And as unpredictable as the weather was, the results were just as predictable in the dual meet format event, as defending state Division 1 champion Marquette beat Homestead, 6-1, for the title while state Division 2 champ University School was third, Nicolet fourth and Whitefish Bay ninth.
When the rain started pouring in Friday morning, some quick decisions had to be made. Koppa initially wanted to stick to the original two-match outdoor schedule that was set up, but that was thrown out because the weather got bad in a hurry.
Matches were set up at indoor facilities all over the area, including most notably at North Shore Racquet Club and Mequon Elite with every one of the 16-teams getting at least a match in that day.
"At least we were playing," said Koppa.
Which was important, because Koppa had invited the top five ranked schools in D1 and nine ranked teams total with USM being the top-ranked school in D2.
That made for a hectic and occasionally bizarre second day, in which teams played up to three matches. The championship bracket was at Nicolet and Bay while the consolation rounds were contested at Grafton and Cedarburg.
And how much tennis got played varied on distances as narrow as 100 yards on a cold and occasionally drizzle-filled day.
Take the case of Homestead coach Jackie Egelhoff, for instance, whose team beat defending state D2 champion University School, 5-2, in one semifinal held on Nicolet's upper courts across Highway 43.
"We get done and we head down (to Nicolet's lower courts for the final) and they're barely going in the first set," she said. "It turned out they had four rain delays (on the lower courts) while we didn't have any. Tim (Koppa) just looked at me and said 'You're done?!?'"
So Homestead waited around for more than an hour while that match finished, with a somewhat encouraging loss to the never-rebuilding, three-time state champs from Marquette.
"It is what it is," she said, "and they are what they (the Hilltoppers) are."
Meanwhile out at Grafton and Cedarburg, the situation was even soggier.
After beating Racine Prairie (6-1) and Madison Memorial (4-3) Bay was looking forward to playing Madison West in the consolation final.
"But they simply couldn't wait anymore," said Blue Dukes coach Phil Kelbe, "so they defaulted to us. ... I tell you, this event is snakebit sometimes with the weather. Everyone did the best they could, but it made for a long day."
And even though Koppa occasionally questions his sanity every time he tries to do this (he does something similar for the girls in the fall), he looks back at it as a great achievement.
"It's tough," he said. "It's such a big tourney and you're bringing in teams from all over and you got them spread out all over the area and then Mother Nature steps in?"
"What are you going to do?"
Soggy Sweet 16
Area teams do well in Nicolet's tournament
Homestead: defeated Arrowhead, 7-0; defeated Brookfield East, 7-0; beat USM, 5-2; lost to Marquette, 6-1. Top players: Alex Jesse and Dillon Kelly in singles.
University School-Milwaukee: defeated Madison West, 5-2, defeated Neenah, 6-1, lost to Homestead, 5-2, beat Nicolet, 4-3. Top player: Rishi Karri in singles (4-0).
Nicolet: defeated Madison Memorial, 5-2; beat Brookfield Central, 4-3, lost to Marquette, 5-2; lost to USM, 4-3. Top players: Brendan Barker at four singles and the third doubles team of Quinn Ellsworth and Jacob Levey (4-0).
Whitefish Bay: Lost to Middleton, 4-3; defeated Racine Prairie, 6-1; defeated Madison Memorial, 4-3; defeated Madison West (default). Top players: Matt Kavanagh (3-0), Graham Martens (2-1) and Henry Bachman (2-1) in singles.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Shorewood, Whitefish Bay runners fought through pain to earn state track honors
- Making adjustments, young Bay baseball team is off to a 9-2 start
- Sports Shorts: June 4
- Bay's Kavanagh and Martens take fifth in state tennis doubles
- Young Blue Dukes girls show off at state track meet
- Hamilton Sports Shorts: June 4
- Area track stars Gayle and Gomoll handle challenges with diginity and class
- Area netters adapt to new reality, advance several to state individual tournament
- Sports Shorts: May 21
- Homestead has just enough depth to pull away for fifth North Shore tennis title