Boys’ tennis hosted Cheshire in our regular season finale – the last in the careers of seniors Scott Danforth, Carl Grant, and Tom Slack. The day featured 90-degree heat and serious humidity, causing Coach Speer to sweat through his shirt before introductions started. Cheshire has been an “up-and-coming” team for the last two years, and they have taken another huge step forward this year, adding two more top players to complement the formidable Kania brothers. Doubles was typically competitive, with Alfi and Deepak doing their thing at #3 while the seniors kept it close against Cheshire’s top pair. Unfortunately, a few of our missed opportunities while receiving at 6-5 gave the Cheshire #1s some momentum, and they leveled the match. All attention then shifted to Gideon and Matthew, where they acquitted themselves well but were up against too much raw talent.
It was the first doubles point we’d lost since playing Andover on April 22, so everyone was understandably a bit upset, but anger turned into determination once singles started. Deepak gave us a quick boost with a 6-3, 6-0 win in the #5 spot, and although Gideon was dehydrated and fading fast, he ripped through his second set to finish with an identical score. Carl, buoyed by support from his teammates and the surprisingly large crowd of spectators, finished off his opponent by a score of 6-1, 6-3 to run the match score to 3-1. We only needed one more point to clinch, but it wouldn’t come for nearly another hour: Matthew went down swinging against the elder Kania, while a medical timeout gave Alfi’s opponent newfound strength to close out the second set. All eyes turned to Scott, who went up 5-2 in the third before his opponent powered back to get on serve at 5-4. Despite an attempted medical timeout by his opponent before Scott’s third match point, our captain stayed focused and got the job done, clinching a team match for the third time this year.
Today was truly a team effort: thanks to Mrs. Danforth and Mrs. Grant for their snacks and support, to Amherst coach Todd Doebler for swinging by, to our manager Connor Finemore and the rest of the bench mob for having everyone’s back, and to the students (Tim, AJ, Danny, Sevrin, Hughes, and Aditya, among others) who cheered on their classmates from mid-afternoon until 7:15 PM.
We play Hotchkiss in the first round of the playoffs at home this Saturday (full draws at http://preptennis.org/netc17.htm). Updates will continue @deerfieldtennis.
Deerfield 4, Cheshire 3
Casey Kania/Jan Parizak (C) d. Carl Grant/Scott Danforth (D) 8-6
Cameron Kania/Arnas Sabonis (C) d. Matthew Wuyan/Gideon Yektai (D) 8-4
Alfi Auersperg/Deepak Pathapati (D) d. Jacob Lebowitz/Kartik Erodula (D) 8-4
Grant (D) d. Casey Kania (C) 6-1, 6-3
Danforth (D) d. Sabonis (C) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Cameron Kania (C) d. Wuyan (D) 7-6 (4), 6-3
Parizak (C) d. Auersperg (D) 6-1, 7-5
Pathapati (D) d. Lebowitz (C) 6-3, 6-0
Yektai (D) d. Erodula (C) 6-3, 6-0
Order of finish: Doubles 3,1,2; singles 5,6,1,3,4,2