SHREWSBURY >> Walking off the court at St. John's High School of Shrewsbury, Mount Greylock's winning doubles team of Matt Wiseman and Brady Foehl did not show much emotion. Despite completing the Mounties' fourth year with an undefeated doubles teams, Whitinsville Christian's strong singles play propelled it to a 3-2 win in MIAA Division III state semifinals on Monday. It's the second year in a row the Crusaders have defeated Mount Greylock in the semis.
"It's still good to get the individual win, but it [stinks] that the team wasn't able to move on," Wiseman said. "Everybody tried their best, so it was a good match. I enjoyed it."
The Mounties won both double points, as Sam Dils and Toby Foehl won 6-3, 6-4 at No. 2, and Wiseman and Brady Foehl pulled out a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) win.
Greylock coach Stephen Bryant said his doubles teams did a good job of translating what they did in practice to the match,
"They did really well. In practice we worked on moving the ball down the alley and doing lobs and they were doing those well," he said. "They were using those [shots] well throughout the points. ... They were thinking out on the court, not just hitting and that's what we tried to do."
However, as Wiseman forced his opponent to hit a forehand back into the net for the match-clinching point, the overall match had long been decided.
Greylock's No. 1 singles player Gray Kaegi battled with Whitinsville's Ben Koopman, before an injury to his ankle slowed his mobility late. Koopman finished off a hobbled Kaegi, winning 6-1, 6-1. After Kaegi's loss, Owen Brookhouse defeated Jacob Fink 6-1, 6-2, at No. 2 singles, and about a minute later, Gabe Brookhouse defeated Josh Narey 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3 singles to clinch the match.
Narey faced Owen Brookhouse last year, again losing at No. 3 singles, but the junior showed improved velocity and decision making against his opponent. Narey was one of the few players in the same role as last season. After losing Nyien Soe and Will Nolan, the Mounties had to re-shuffle their lineup, getting strong contribution from new players. The Crusaders, however, returned all but one player from last year and their experience showed on Monday. Crusaders coach Don Koopman said playing in the summer allows his players to continue to get better.
"They've played better. My doubles teams don't play during the summer but the [singles players] do," Koopman said. "Even during basketball season they take lessons. ... They've all gotten better, because they take lessons and play basketball."
With a state championship no longer in the cards, Bryant said his team can take pride in winning back-to-back Western Mass. titles. He added that playing in the state semis is a good gauge for his players and they can use the experience to improve.
"Our biggest [goal] is the Western Mass title and going farther than that is a bonus," he said, "We're just happy to get this far. The boys like the competition. They like playing tough teams so we know where we're at. After today we're going to work harder in the summer. Work on our strengths, work on our weaknesses and hopefully be stronger next year."
Singles — 1. Ben Koopman (WC) def. Gray Kaegi 6-1, 6-1. 2. Owen Brookhouse (WC) def. Jacob Fink 6-1, 6-2. 3. Gabe Brookehouse (WC) def. Josh Narey 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles — 1. Matt Wiseman/Brady Foehl (MG) def. Josh Cook/Spencer Gorman 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). 2. Sam Dils/Toby Foehl (MG) def. Michael Dunlap/Jonathan Baker 6-3, 6-4.
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252