The best Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys tennis season in six years came to an end at Lexington High School on Monday afternoon as the two-time defending Division 3 state champion Weston Wildcats defeated the Vineyarders, 5-0, in the state semifinals.
The South champion Vineyarders finished up an outstanding season at 20-1, while the North champion Wildcats (15-5) moved on to play Central Mass. champs Hopedale in the state final on Thursday at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury.
Playing in front of a number of parents who made the long trip to Lexington, the Vineyarders came into the match sky-high after beating previously undefeated Dover-Sherborn in the South Sectional final last Friday, and were trying to reach the state final for the first time since 2013, when MV clinched the second of back-to-back championships under legendary Coach Ned Fennessy.
Weston, the No. 8 seed in the North, knocked out four higher seeds on their way to Lexington. The Wildcats are a battle-tested bunch, having played a number of Division 1 and 2 schools this season.
“Weston hit very hard, and knew how to close out points, which is experience they take out from playing a season full of difficult matches,” Vineyard co-Head Coach Tony Omer said. “They are a very strong team across the board.”
Vineyard second singles Max Potter lost for the first time this season, 6-3, 6-3, to Benny Gilligan, while third singles Eric Reubens also suffered his first defeat in team play. Reubens rallied from 2-5 down to force a first-set tiebreaker, but lost 7-6, 6-2, to Michael Philipkosky.
In the three remaining matches, Weston’s Jacob Gilligan was a 6-4, 6-1, winner over Vineyard No. 1 singles Chris Ferry; Vineyarders Owen Favreau and Spencer Pogue lost 6-1, 6-2, to Masaki Nawa and Josh Li at first doubles; and second doubles duo David Krauthamer and Luke Nivala fell to Weston’s Logan Brand and Chris Coleman 6-2, 6-1.
“Our guys played really well, I have no complaints,” Coach Omer said after the tough loss. “We had a terrific season, a successful season, and we will be back next year. Our guys are still young, and all but one is returning. This tournament whetted the appetite of our players.”