Mount Greylock boys tennis repeats as Western Mass. champions
LEE >> For the second year in a row, the Mount Greylock boys tennis team came up against Belchertown in the Western Mass. Division III championship match.
And for the second year running the Mounties walked away with a 4-1 victory.
Mount Greylock cruised past the Orioles on Friday at Lee High School, winning the first three matches to secure the win before splitting the final two.
The win gave Mount Greylock its third Western Mass. title in four years.
"Yeah, it's exciting getting it, especially because we got it last year," Greylock first singles player Gray Kaegi said. "This is the first time in a while, to my knowledge, that we've won back-to-back seasons.
"There's no jumping around, confetti, but, y'know what? That's OK. I think we are all happy. This was our goal immediately from the start of the season."
All of Greylock's wins were in straight sets, and the first came through Kaegi.
Kaegi came up against Belchertown's Tyler Zulkiewicz, and Kaegi took advantage of an injury to Zulkiewicz to post a 6-2, 6-1 win.
"It's fantastic that he came out and played, because he played a really rough match against Monument," Kaegi said of Zulkiewicz. "It shows a lot of determination for him to come out here and play today, and I respect him a lot for it."
The second match finished was at second doubles, where the Greylock duo of Sam Dils and Benni McComish took down Cyrus Raines and Noah Pare 6-2, 6-2.
Shortly after the second doubles win, Greylock No. 2 singles player Jacob Fink finished off Ryan Kearney 6-0, 7-5 to wrap up Greylock's championship.
Fink, after shutting out Kearney in the first set, showed a bit of guts to rally out of a 4-3 hole, and with his second set knotted up at 5-5. Fink took the last two games to seal the deal.
At No. 1 doubles, the Greylock tandem of Matt Wiseman and Brady Foehl won 6-2, 6-3. Belchertown got its lone win at third singles via a super tiebreaker.
Greylock's Josh Narey took the first set 7-5, but Belchertown's Jon Vinagre rallied to take the second set 7-5, and with all eyes on the pair after the other matches had wrapped up, Vinagre took the 10-point tiebreaker 10-7 to avoid the sweep.
"Our guys went out there, played with heart, did the best that they could and they came up short," Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. "And it is what it is going forward from there."
Siano also touched on Zulkiewicz gutting out his loss. With his senior clearly favoring his knee, Siano said Zulkiewicz playing helped him at least keep things as they were coming in.
"I mean, just the fact that Trent was even able to go out there and play, let alone get games, was unreal for us," he said. "He went out there and did his absolute best. I can't thank him enough for that. He very well could have tapped out as a senior and moved on from there, but he wanted to do his best for his team."
For Kaegi, finishing up first allowed him a rare perspective of his team.
"This is the first time all year I've finished first," Kaegi said. "Normally I'm the last one off — I've played a lot of long matches this year. So, it's awesome getting to watch these guys play, because I don't really get an opportunity to watch them. I'm watching all these guys hit, and I'm blown away by how well they are playing.
"This is one of the deepest teams we've had."
That depth will be tested in the state semifinals. The Mounties will get a rematch of last year's state semis with a match against Central Mass. champion Whitinsville Christian. Greylock fell in last year's semifinals 3-2.
"We played them last year, they are a good team," Kaegi said of Whitinsville Christian. "It was close, so who knows? I think we are all excited to play, we've been playing well all year, and we'll just bring what we have."
The semifinal will be played on Monday at St. John's of Shrewsbury at 4:15 p.m.
Singles — 1. Gray Kaegi (MG) def. Trent Zulkiewicz 6-2, 6-1. 2. Jacob Fink (MG) def. Ryan Kearney 6-0, 7-5. 3. Jon Vinagre (B) def. Josh Narey 5-7, 7-5, 10-7.
Doubles — 1. Matt Wiseman/Brady Foehl (MG) def. Alec Morgado/Dennis Lelic 6-2, 6-3. 2. Sam Dils/Benni McComish (MG) def. Cyrus Raines/Noah Pare 6-2, 6-2.
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