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MVRHS Boys tennis

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Finn Simpkins puts away a volley during the third singles match against Norwell Monday at MVRHS. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The two-time defending state Division 3 champion Vineyard boys tennis team began its quest for a threepeat with a 5-0 south sectional quarterfinal win over Norwell Monday at the Ned Fennessy Tennis Courts in Oak Bluffs.

The playoff win was the first for the second-seeded Vineyarders under new coach Josh Schaan, who has guided the team to a 15-1 record thus far. Mr. Fennessy, who retired last June after a storied 23-year career, was on hand to root the team on.

The Vineyarders took each match from the seventh-seeded Clippers in straight sets. Senior captain Patrick McCarthy defeated Cam Roach, 6-2, 6-3, at first singles, Connor Downing beat Willie McDonald, 6-4, 6-3, at second singles, and Finn Simpkins stepped into the third singles slot, topping Devin Chen, 7-5, 6-1. “I was very happy with how third singles turned out with Finn,” Coach Schaan said.

In doubles, the number one team of Zak Danz and Dunovan Belisle defeated Andrew Cibotti and Jake Duckworth, 6-0, 6-3, while Charlie Parkhurst and Max Hammond outlasted Liam Beal and Sam Rinko, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 at second doubles.

Due to the threat of inclement weather, the south sectional semifinal between Martha’s Vineyard and third-seeded Cohasset, originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 4, at 3 pm in Oak Bluffs, was moved indoors at the Falmouth Sports Center at 33 Highfield Road across the street from the Cape Cod Curling Club.

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Patrick McCarthy hits a backhand return. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The MVRHS boys tennis team bounced back after suffering its first defeat of the season May 7 against Bishop Feehan by winning three straight matches.  Already in the state tournament, the Vineyarders (11-1) rolled to a 5-0 win at Norton on Tuesday.

Connor Downing moved up to first singles and defeated Brandon Jenkins, 6-2, 6-1. Zak Danz, playing singles for the first time, was a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Alex Belinsky at second singles. Max Hammond beat Robbie Douglas at third singles, 6-1, 6-1. James Kelliher and David Webster topped John Munger and Devin Kalnicki, 6-4, 6-0, at first doubles, while Finn Simpkins and Ben Nadelstein posted a ‘W’ over Sean Murphy and Ryan Shanley, 6-4, 6-1, at second doubles.

The Vineyarders clinched at least a tie for the Eastern Athletic Conference title by beating Somerset Berkley, 5-0, Friday at MVRHS. The Purple downed visiting Coyle Cassidy by the same score on May 8.

Coming after the loss to Bishop Feehan, Vineyard Coach Josh Schaan was impressed by how his team’s responded against Coyle. “Everybody won the first set 6-0; a great way to come back after a loss.”

Vineyarders impress at State Individual Tourney

The Vineyard regular first doubles team of Zak Danz and Dunovan Belisle have advanced to the quarterfinals of the Massachusetts State Individual Tournament to be played Saturday in Newton, after winning two matches over the weekend.

Patrick McCarthy (first singles) and Connor Downing (second singles) also played well. As fate would have it, the Vineyarders were paired off against one-another in the third round match Sunday in Barnstable. McCarthy won a close decision over his teammate, 6-4, 6-4.

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Ned Fennessy, who coached the boys varsity tennis team for 23 years, will be honored on May 17 at the high school. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The tennis courts at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School will be formally named the Ned Fennessy Tennis Courts in a dedication ceremony at the high school on Saturday at 10 am. Mr. Fennessy retired in June 2013, after 23 seasons as the boys varsity coach.

During his storied career, Mr. Fennessy coached his teams to 290 victories, winning back-to-back MIAA Division 3 state championships in his final two seasons.

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Anders Nelson hits a forehand in the third singles match against Bishop Feehan. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

After starting the season 8-0 under new coach Josh Schaan, the two-time defending state champion Vineyard varsity boys tennis team finally met their match last Wednesday in Oak Bluffs. Eastern Athletic Conference rival Bishop Feehan edged the Vineyarders, 3-2, to even up the season series. The Purple defeated the Shamrocks by the same count on April 11 in Attleboro.

The Shamrocks took a 3-0 lead to clinch the contest before the Vineyarders fought back to win the final two matches in third set tie-breakers.

Feehan’s Jack Lahiff defeated Patrick McCarthy at first singles, 6-1, 6-2. John Shanley beat the Vineyard’s Anders Nelson at third singles, 6-3, 6-1. In second doubles, the Vineyard tandem of Charlie Parkhurst and Finn Simpkins fell to Collin Kane and Jeremiah Sullivan, 6-2, 6-2.

The two most competitive matches belonged to the Vineyarders. Connor Downing outlasted Brendon Scanlon at second singles, 6-4, 6-7, 10-3 (tie-breaker). In first doubles, Zak Danz and Dunovan Belisle edged Hayden Miller and Will Shanley by the same score.

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The Vineyard boys tennis team stayed unbeaten at 8-0 with a 5-0 win at Bishop Stang Friday in North Dartmouth. Charlie Parkhurst, paired with Dunovan Belisle at first doubles, earned his first varsity win of the season, while Finn Simpkins, with David Webster at second doubles, picked up his first career varsity win. Parkhurst recorded his first varsity start of the season, while Simpkins was making his varsity debut. Belisle and Parkhurst defeated Dylan Soule and Mark Rice, 6-1, 6-1. Webster and Simpkins prevailed in the toughest match of the day, 5-7, 6-3, 10-7 (tie-breaker).

The singles contests were all one-sided Vineyard victories. Patrick McCarthy downed Lenny Murphy at first singles, 6-0, 6-2; Connor Downing scored a double bagel, 6-0, 6-0, over Owen Leary at second doubles; and Anders Nelson was a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Liam Kidd at third singles.