Talk about keeping cool under pressure.
In last Friday's sectional finals, Crown Point's boys tennis team was tied 2-2 with Lake Central. The deciding point was No. 2 singles. Bulldogs sophomore Boris Pavlovski had lost the first set before he came back to tie it up and send the match to a third set.
Using a strong backhand shot, Pavlovski pulled out a 7-5 win to give Crown Point its fourth consecutive sectional title.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking," Pavlovski said. "I knew everyone was watching us."
The stress didn't affect his level of play, something that coach Chris Korzeniewski said has been the case all year.
"Most kids, especially underclassmen, play not to lose," Korzeniewski said, "but Boris plays a very aggressive game, and plays that way regardless of the score. He doesn't go into a shell when he gets a lead."
As a freshman, Pavlovski split his year at No. 2 doubles and No. 3 singles, compiling a 10-8 record.
"I prefer playing singles, but I learned a lot from my time at doubles," Pavlovski said. "It helped me with my net play and attacking."
Winning challenge matches resulted in Pavlovski slotted in at No. 2 singles this season, where he has earned a 13-3 record so far.
"I was excited to move up the ladder and play a higher spot on the team," Pavlovski said. "I like contributing to team wins, and I have had that chance at No. 2 singles."
Pavlovski played both tennis and soccer during middle school and junior high, before deciding on tennis when he started his freshman year.
"It was a tough decision," Pavlovski said. "I really liked both sports. I decided I could go further in tennis and I think I made the right choice."
The decision proved to be a good one. Pavlovski won the prestigious USTA 16-year-old tennis tournament at Valparaiso University last summer.
"It was very exciting to win the tournament," Pavlovski said. "Three matches went to three sets and two of them went to tie-breaker. So I got a lot of experience at close matches with a lot of pressure."
There will be more pressure this week as the postseason continues. The Bulldogs (15-3) face Morton today in the regional semifinal round.