Martha’s Vineyard boys clinch MIAA Division 3 state tennis championship

Members of the Martha's Vineyard boys 2012 MIAA Division 3 state champion tennis team posed with the trophy after arriving in Vineyard Haven. From left: Justice Yennie, Kent Leonard, Justin Smith, Patrick McCarthy, Jackson McBride, Natty Schneider, Ryan Sawyer, Sean McAndrews. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys tennis team clinched their first state championship in the program’s history with a 4-1 win today against the Nashoba Regional Chieftains of Bolton in the MIAA Division 3 state final played at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury.

The Vineyarders finished the season with a perfect 23-0 record.

Justice Yennie won, 6-2, 6-0, to put the Vineyard ahead early. The first doubles team of Natty Schneider and Jackson McBride soon followed with a 6-1, 6-1 win.

Less than one hour into the contest, Ryan Sawyer and Justin Smith put the Vineyarders over the top with an emphatic 6-0, 6-0 win at second doubles.

Kent Leonard gave the Purple and White a 4-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-4 win at first singles.

Patrick McCarthy played tough but lost 5-7, 4-6 in second singles.

The team arrived back in Vineyard Haven at 9:15 to a heroes’ welcome. A lineup of Tisbury fire trucks with sirens blaring and dozens of fans and friends were on hand to meet the ferry and greet the team members as they came down the ramp with the state championship trophy.

Members of the girls tennis team, themselves 18-3 and MIAA south sectional semi-finalists, arrived with a championship banner, balloons, and homemade bacon and chocolate cupcakes.

Coach Ned Fennessy, who completed his 22nd season following the win, called the experience “magical.”

“It was my 22nd year as coach and after Monday’s win [against Weston in the state semifinal] we were 22-0,” the coach said. “Now we’re 23-0, so I guess I better come back for a 23rd year.”

Coach Fennessy was understandably proud of his team’s historic accomplishment. “The boys deserve all the accolades they get. What more could I ask for?”