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Brothers from Sidwell become one of the area’s top tennis tandems

Boys’ spring notes

Senior Aristotelis Bezianis, right, and his brother, sophomore Demetrios Bezianis, are the top doubles team at Sidwell Friends. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
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Sidwell Friends’ top doubles team has quickly become one of the most competitive duos in the region. The secret to the pair’s success: They’ve been playing together since they were toddlers.

Aristotelis and Demetrios Bezianis, brothers on the Quakers’ powerhouse tennis squad, say their chemistry on the court after years of practicing side-by-side is their greatest asset.

“Teli usually plays the forehand, I play the backhand, and that’s just how it’s always been,” said Demetrios, a sophomore. “That’s how we’ve been training, you know — working hard with each other all year long, helping each other get better.”

The brothers are coming off several strong wins, including a challenging match against Collegiate School that they won, 8-3. But for all their success on the court, they’ve had to learn to leave behind the usual sibling rivalry and brotherly annoyances.

“When you’re brothers, you always fight with your brother,” said Aristotelis, a senior. “But on the court, we never fight. It’s just too fun to ever get in an argument.”

In addition to first doubles, Aristotelis plays first singles for Sidwell while Demetrios is looking to move up from third singles to second. They’re gearing up for the George C. Shafer Jr. Doubles Invitational this weekend in Newtown Square, Pa., where they’ll compete against some of the top duos in the country.

They’re hoping their work together will lead Sidwell to another Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference title, but for now they’re focused on improving each other’s game, one match at a time.

“We’re a very close family, and, you know, tennis has brought us together,” Demetrios said. “We’re always going to have each other’s backs.”

— Aaron Credeur

Lacrosse

It’s rare for two nationally relevant lacrosse programs to be located less than a mile apart, but that’s the case in Severna Park.

Severn School and Severna Park High are separated by 0.8 miles, but because of the Anne Arundel County town’s influx of talent, both are contenders in their leagues.

Last week, the private and public school rivals met for the first time since April 2019. Severn proved it’s the town’s best team this spring with a 13-8 win in Annapolis.

“Between Baltimore and here,” Severn Coach Joseph Christie said, “it’s like the bubble within the bubble within the bubble of lacrosse.”

This season, Severn (8-3) has emerged as a top competitor in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, one of the country’s most talented leagues. Severna Park (6-2) has won a Maryland-record 10 state championships, including the past five 4A titles. The Falcons defeated Severn in 2019.

Christie, who took over Severn’s program in 2017, is the school’s associate director of admissions. He has attracted athletes to the 420-student upper school, which is an afterthought in every sport outside of boys’ and girls’ lacrosse.

“This area’s a great place to raise a family. People don’t leave,” Christie said. “You have, in many instances, at least one parent who played at a really high level and then, in a lot of cases, two. They were then in turn coaching their kids, and you have a couple of generations of that cycle. This is why you breed such [darn] good lacrosse players.”

— Kyle Melnick

Soccer

In last year’s Virginia Class 5 championship game, Lewis started seven juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Even though they lost that match, it was a pivotal moment for the Lancers. The Springfield program had not been to a title game since 1985, and Coach John Millward knew the playoff run would provide plenty of value in the years to come.

“Everybody got experience, but they also got that bitter taste that comes with going all that way and not finishing the job,” Millward said.

The Lancers lost a few players to club soccer complications and graduated senior star Cristian Chavez (who had been injured for the title game), but most of the roster is back to try to produce another playoff run. It won’t be easy: The Lancers face the challenge of being a contender while also dealing with a jump from Class 5 to Class 6.

As evidenced by a 6-0-1 start, they have risen to the challenge.

“They’ll play whoever — Class 6, Class 5, whatever. In the Northern Virginia area, these kids are all playing in the same club structures anyway,” Millward said. “And they have embraced the challenge of being the hunted, which is different for this program.”

— Michael Errigo

Baseball

Even without any starting seniors in 2021, Churchill made a remarkable run to the Maryland 4A quarterfinals.

Without the chance at scrimmages before last season’s campaign, the Bulldogs focused their time on building up fundamentals through themed practices. Coach Pat Skellchock and his staff would put their players through specific game situations and work to hone the skill.

The results were clear in their postseason run, and development has continued into 2022, making Churchill (10-0) a favorite to go even further this spring.

“We just have a buzz saw of a lineup,” Skellchock said. “It’s tough to get through. It’s tough to pitch to them.”

The Bulldogs showed it off in a 22-4 thrashing of Magruder last week. Home runs by Erik Rindner, Nathan Gumagay and Isaac Kreisler powered a convincing victory.

Although not every win is as one-sided for the Bulldogs, they’ve yet to be solved by an opponent. Skellchock knows it stems from those practices last season.

“We play for the team. We’re not stat-hungry guys; we’re not crowd pleasers,” he said. “We’re not doing this for somebody else. They’re all doing this for the team.”

— Jacob Richman

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