The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys tennis team defeated the Maimonides School of Brookline by a 4-1 count in the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional quarterfinals on Thursday at the Ned Fennessy Courts in Oak Bluffs, but don’t let that score fool you. The 10th-seeded M-Cats (7-3) made the No. 2 Vineyarders (18-0) work and scrap for every point by launching loads of lobs and topspin forehands. With double-digit rallies the norm, rather than the exception, the Vineyarders won by what Co-Head Coach Ryan Sawyer termed “grinder tennis,” that is, the hosts didn’t win pretty. They did what they had to do to grind out each point and wear their stubborn opponents down.
Co-Head Coach Tony Omer said, “We had to find creative ways to adjust to and contend with a lot of lobs.”
Second singles Max Potter was first off the court after defeating Judah Kosowsky 6-1, 6-0. The Vineyard sophomore wielded a powerful serve, and tamed the high bounces coming his way by ripping the ball down the lines for several winners.
In a match full of exciting rallies and net play, Spencer Pogue and Owen Favreau earned the second Vineyard point of the early evening with a 6-1, 6-2, win over Jeremy Rosenbaum and Ben Itkis at first doubles.
No. 1 singles Chris Ferry gave the Vineyarders an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five series of matches by outlasting Josh Schoenberg 6-1, 6-1, with precise, steady groundstrokes in a 70-minute match full of long baseline rallies.
Maimonides earned their point with a hard-fought win at second doubles as Shaya Hain and Aryeh Samuels defeated David Krauthamer and Ben Belisle 6-2, 6-1.
The last match to be settled was third singles. Eric Reubens and Motti Goldberger battled for more than 90 minutes, with each rally seeming to stretch longer than the last. Particularly in the first set, Reubens ran Goldberger to and fro and side to side with topspin forehands, slice backhands, lobs, and the occasional drop shot, but the gritty M-Cat kept returning the ball, getting more resilient as the match wore on. In the end, Reubens prevailed 6-0, 6-2, winning the final point, fittingly, with a high, perfectly placed lob that blooped from one baseline to the other with Goldberger sprinting toward the fence, stretching his racquet out in vain.
Tournament play resumes on Tuesday afternoon in Oak Bluffs at a time to be determined (likely 3 or 4 pm), with the Vineyarders hosting either No. 3 Old Rochester (17-1) or No. 6 Cohasset (15-2) in the South semifinals.