Whitman All-Met Andy Mathis has been described as a "bulldog" by former coach Hugh Hammet in reference to his style of play.

Yesterday at the University of Maryland's Indoor Tennis Facility, Mathis proved extremely ornery when it came to defending his Maryland state boys singles title, coming from behind in both sets to defeat Arundel's Pat Osuna, 7-5, 6-3.

"This win is more satisfying," said the top-seeded Mathis. "Both {title} matches I had to fight really hard. {But} this match I was hitting winners instead of just fighting."

Mathis's victory over sophomore Osuna marks the end of a high school career in which he lost just once in tough Montgomery County regular season play and won two District II championships. Mathis will attend the University of Texas on a tennis scholarship.

But none of it seemed to matter to the second-seeded Osuna, who moved to the Arundel area this season from Florida, as he went up by 3-0 in the first set and 3-1 in the second.

"I had never played Patrick before and I respect his game a lot," Mathis said. "I also respect his fighting."

In the first set Osuna seemed content to use his big serve and slug it out from the baseline. After winning the first game, Osuna broke Mathis. He held serve in the third game before Mathis began his comeback.

"To his credit, he was hitting real powerful shots and I don't think I was moving my feet the way I should have," said Mathis. "I felt tired and I was having some trouble getting some adrenaline going. I was nervous because he was the underdog, and when he got up I decided it was now or never."

In addition to his attitude, Mathis made another change that proved paramount to his victory: Instead of remaining at the baseline, he began coming to the net more often and utilizing his deft backhand slice to offset Osuna's powerful baseline attack.

With his temperament and strategy in check, Mathis reeled off three straight games, knotting the set at 3 on a beautiful drop shot.

But the equally stubborn Osuna rediscovered his big serve to go up, 4-3, and stretched his lead to 5-3, breaking when Mathis hit a lob long.

However, Mathis summoned enough savvy to kill off two set points to break Osuna and pull within 5-4. Mathis won the next three games, taking the set, 7-5, as Osuna's game began to unravel.

In the second set, Osuna jumped to a 3-1 lead only to see Mathis come back again to win the final five games, ending the match on a two-fisted backhand cross-court winner.

In other title matches, Felix Nacson and Josh Barr (Springbrook) defeated Brian Roche and Devon Leap (Cambridge), 6-2, 6-1, in boys doubles; Danielle Diloff (Pikesville) downed Bresha Byrd (Middletown), 2-6, 6-2, 6-2, in girls singles; Heidi McWilliams and Abby Messick (Cambridge) beat Katy Dove and Chris Mills (Thomas Johnson), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), in girls doubles; and Eythan Sontag and Genevra Kyle (Wootton) bested Michael Burman and Beth Flaks (Pikesville), 6-3, 6-1, in mixed doubles.