MVRHS boys tennis upsets undefeated Apponequet to advance to Final Four

Apponequet had beaten the Vineyard twice before the Island athletes topped them. 

The No. 5 MVRHS boys tennis team qualified for its third consecutive MIAA Division III Final Four appearance with a victory over undefeated No. 4 Apponequet on Saturday. Second-year head coach Nicole Macy holds the team’s Final Four banner, and junior Caleb Dubin holds the trophy. –Nicole Macy

Entering Saturday afternoon’s MIAA Division III quarterfinal matchup with No. 4 Apponequet, MVRHS boys tennis Coach Nicole Macy says the No. 5 Vineyarders were “optimistic, but realistic.”

Although the Vineyard was just one seed below the Lakers, Apponequet entered Saturday with a perfect 20-0 record, including two separate 3-2 victories over MVRHS this May.

Junior Kert Kleeman at third singles and “twin towers” Kyle Levy and Otis Forrester at first doubles had prevailed the first two times around, but when Levy and Forrester dropped their first set on Saturday 6-3, things looked dire.

With their third straight Final Four berth on the line, the Vineyarders (15-4) somehow found a way to win. “They just dug in,” Macy said. “They are on cloud nine right now.”

Kleeman went on to win in two sets, and juniors Levy and Forrester got the job done in three sets. The difference maker: junior Caleb Dubin at second singles.

Facing a 4-0 hole early on, Dubin rallied to beat Apponequet’s Nate Belmore in two Homeric sets, 7-6, 7-6 — despite having lost in two sets in their prior two meetings.

“Caleb lost fairly decisively the first two times, but there was no doubt in our minds that he could win,” Macy said. “He just locked in and turned it on. He wanted to win, and he really dictated that match.”

All eyes were on Dubin to take it down in the last match of the day. “All games were decided, so we got to storm the court when Caleb won,” junior Zak Potter (first singles) said.

The Vineyarders will take Sunday and Monday off to celebrate and rest, before getting back on the horse on Tuesday versus No. 1 Weston (12-6).

MVRHS and Weston will meet at 4 pm at Somerset-Berkley Regional High School, the site of the Vineyard’s upset victory over Apponequet.

Weston has won all three of its playoff matches this year 5-0, and are six-time defending state champions. The Wildcats moved up to Division III from Division IV this off-season, and played a majority Division II schedule this year.

“Weston’s going to be by far our biggest push this season,” Macy said.