Hawks fall in boys’ tourney; GHS wins, Mohawk ousted
The circumstances were unique for the Belchertown High School boys’ tennis team Friday afternoon, but the top-seeded Orioles took care of business in a 5-0 victory over Frontier Regional School in a Western Massachusetts Division III Boys’ Team Tennis quarterfinal match at the Marilyn Higgins Courts.
The No. 8 Red Hawks are a girls team with two boys in their lineup, which forces the team to either compete in the boys’ tournament or play in the girls’ field with the boys sitting out.
“We wouldn’t have qualified for tournament without the boys, and it’s always the players’ decision to make,” Frontier coach Steve Barrett said. “Their attitude is this is our team and we’ll stick together. That show of teamwork is great to see.”
This marked the third straight season Frontier chose to compete as a full squad in the boys tournament. The Red Hawks lost to Lee, 5-0, in 2012 and to Mount Greylock, 4-1, in 2011. The school has never had enough interest to field a complete boys team.
Belchertown (19-2) advanced to the semifinal round on Tuesday, when it will host No. 5 Lee (10-4) at a time yet to be announced. Lee beat No. 4 St. Mary, 3-2.
The only match featuring two boys came at No. 1 singles, which was won by Belchertown’s Kevin Lindhult over Ricky Fields 6-1, 6-1.
“I thought Ricky hit the ball well, he just ran into a buzzsaw,” Barrett said. Lindhult “is one of the best players in the area for a reason.”
The other four matches were all won by Belchertown 6-0, 6-0. At No. 2 singles, Ethan Smith defeated Balis, while Robbie Lewis beat Lily Schumann at No. 3.
Smith “was really nice, and I had a good time,” Balis said. “I had never played a sport before I joined tennis and here I am as the No. 2 singles player. So personally I’m proud, and we had a good season being able to qualify for tournament.”
Sam Stroman and Zach Kuhn won the No. 1 doubles match over A.J. Mensah and Crystal Niedbala, and at No. 2 doubles Jack Stinson and Mike Sugrue beat Christina Betances-Orrell and Alli Zera.
Greenfield 3, Catholic 2 — Greenfield High School won a pair three-set matches and swept the singles matches to defeat Holyoke Catholic High School, 3-2, in a first-round Western Mass. Division III Girls’ Team Tournament match at the Davis Street Courts in Greenfield.
Alexis Silk had the easiest victory for the sixth-seeded Green Wave (12-3) with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Pallavi George at second singles. From there, it was a nail-biter in singles’ play. Greenfield’s Manisha Malik cruised in the first set at No. 1, earning a 6-1 win over Rachel Goncalves, but the Catholic player came back to claim a 6-4 win in the second set. Malik refocused and took a 6-1 victory in the third to earn a second point.
Green Wave No. 3 singles player Courtney Kimball found herself in the precarious situation of falling behind when she dropped a 6-2 decision in the first set to Catholic’s Caroline McHugh. Kimball came back to take a 6-4 win in the second set and then whitewashed McHugh, 6-0, in the third.
“From the middle of the second set she was so zoned in,” Greenfield coach Barry McColgan said. “She couldn’t miss a ball. She was so determined to win, it was wonderful to watch.”
Eleventh-seeded Catholic swept the doubles competition, including a marathon match at first doubles. It took Katy McClafin and Melissa Iczkowski 3 hours, 20 minutes to earn a 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2) victory over Greenfield’s Aliona Olaru and Emily Franklin.
“It was a remarkable match, two very good teams,” McColgan said.
Ari Adamski and Serena Hayden earned a point for the Gaels (13-3) at second doubles with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Shannon Gibson and Ashley Lowell.
Greenfield advances to the quarterfinals and will travel to Great Barrington on Monday at 4 to take on Monument Mountain Regional High School.
Lee 4, Mohawk 1 — Ninth-seeded Lee High School won two singles matches and swept the doubles to eliminate Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 4-1, in a WMass Division III Girls’ Team Tournament first-round match Friday in Buckland..
Warrior senior Roz Lytle-Rich closed out her outstanding career with an undefeated season (17-0) after she bested the Wildcats’ Caitlyn Briggs, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 1 singles.
From there, however, it was all Lee.
Emma Forget downed Jennifer Field, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 2 and Eileen Dooley bested Aliza Fassler, 6-3, 6-0, at No. 3 for their singles wins.
In doubles, Julie Leprevonti and Isley Gagnon posted a 6-1, 6-4 win over Nelly O’Connell and Jessica Robinson at No. 1, and Hadley Cook and Victoria Murphy upended Dorjee Dolma and Alma Crawford-Mendoza, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 2.
“I was really proud of the team this year ,” said Mohawk head coach Christian Austin. “They were an awesome group of kids.”
Mohawk closed out its season at 11-6.