WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - Nikola Kocovic tried everything.
The Lenape senior tried spinning his serve to his opponent's backhand. He tried changing the pace and placement of his ground strokes. He tried reaching deep into his bag of tennis tricks.
But in the last match of his illustrious career, Kocovic couldn't find a consistent counter to the power and precision of Michael Lippens' forehand and first serve.
"He deserved to win," a gracious Kocovic said after Lippens won the state singles title Thursday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory at Mercer County Park.
Lippens, a junior from Shore Regional, completed a perfect season with a 26-0 record.
Kocovic, who plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania, finished his senior season with a 37-1 record. Kocovic was 70-2 in his final two seasons, with both losses to the eventual singles champion - to Ocean Township's Mike Lampa in the semifinals in 2009 and to Lippens in a briskly-played match on the outdoor stadium court.
"That was the two best players in the state out there," Lenape coach Tony Guerrera said. "Credit to Mike Lippens. His forehand is quite a weapon. Nik couldn't figure it out."
Kocovic had a couple of good chances to get back in the match in the second set. He had a triple-break point in the fifth game, and another break point in the seventh game.
But each time, Lippens used his powerful serve and more imposing forehand to battle back and win the game.
"Every time I needed a shot, I missed it," Kocovic said.