In an exciting afternoon playing indoors at Andover, Deerfield Academy fell to the reigning New England champions by just one point, 4-3.
In doubles, Auersperg/Pathapati played a tough, good-volleying team of Gura/Johnson at #1 and fell 8-4 despite playing well themselves. In the 3rd position, Bronckers/Ji won handily against Katkavich/McDonnell 8-2, keeping their winning streak alive and bringing them to a strong 6-0 record so far. Deerfield then clinched the doubles point in dramatic fashion with the #2 team of Sarachek/Yao beating Burt/Kralik 9-7. The match was close throughout, and though Deerfield served for the match at 7-6 and were broken, they rallied back with confident groundstrokes and aggressive net play to break Andover to go up 8-7. Yao then served it out at 8-7 with both teams and all spectators standing nearby cheering on both teams.
Clinching the doubles point was extra important in this match because Andover only has 4 indoors courts which meant that only #1-4 singles started to play after doubles- and if one team should win all of those contests, the match would have been decided before #5 and #6 got a chance to play. Deerfield continued their momentum with a win at #4 singles by Eli Ji 6-4, 3-0 (retired) against Sean Kralik. Once again Ji’s consistency and speed around the court had him in firm control of the match before Kralik hurt his ankle and had to retire.
With Deerfield up 2-0, Deepak Pathapati had fought back to split sets with Aidan Burt at #2 singles after losing the first set 6-0. Winning the second set 6-3, Pathapati battled in the third set tiebreaker but ultimately fell 10-8. The match was now 2-1 and Alfi Auersperg at #1 and Achille Sarachek at #4 were battling their opponents Gura and Johnson, respectively. Both boys eventually lost 6-4, 6-4 which gave Andover their first lead of the day at 3-2.
At #5, Adrian Yao was playing a hard-hitting opponent but was able to break him down with more consistent groundstrokes and moving quickly around the court. Adrian won his match 7-5, 6-0 which tied the score at 3-3.
That left junior Arthur Yao (Adrian’s twin) playing his match at #6. This was Arthur’s first match back after being out for about two months with a meniscus injury. Unfortunately he ran into an opponent who never missed and Arthur fell 6-1, 6-0 giving Andover the win.
Though the outcome didn’t go their way, the team showed solid tactics, mental toughness, team cohesion and a competitive drive that only bodes well for the rest of the season. The loss brings the team’s record 4-2 on the season.
Next up the team will play at NMH on Wednesday, 4/24 at 4pm.
Order of finish (doubles): 3,1,2
Order of finish (singles): 4,2,1,3,5,6