Cloudy
26°
Cloudy
Hi 32° | Lo 5°

Bow boys’ tennis team comes up short in championship match once again

  • With his teammates behind him, Bow's Jacob Huppe keeps his eye on the ball in a close game against Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. Huppe's match went to a tie breaker. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    With his teammates behind him, Bow's Jacob Huppe keeps his eye on the ball in a close game against Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. Huppe's match went to a tie breaker.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Bow's Tim Bradley returns the ball in the number two singles match against Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. Bradley won his match.

    Bow's Tim Bradley returns the ball in the number two singles match against Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. Bradley won his match. Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Bow's Zach Zbehlik in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow's Zach Zbehlik in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • With his teammates behind him, Bow's Jacob Huppe keeps his eye on the ball in a close game against Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. Huppe's match went to a tie breaker. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow's Tim Bradley returns the ball in the number two singles match against Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. Bradley won his match.
  • Bow's Zach Zbehlik in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow vs. Gilford in the Division III boys tennis championship at Derryfield School in Manchester on June 3, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

MANCHESTER – They thought this was their year. Even though they had lost in the last three finals. Even though they were facing undefeated Gilford, the only team to beat them this season. And even after they fell into a 4-2 hole after singles in yesterday’s Division III championship at The Derryfield School, the Bow boys’ tennis players still believed they could claim the elusive crown.

“Everyone was still confident after singles,” Bow senior captain Zach Zbehlik said. “We all honestly believed we could sweep the doubles matches and this was our year.”

After Zbehlik and Nate Louf lost the first four games in their No. 1 doubles match, the must-have sweep seemed improbable, until the Falcons fought back to tie things at 5-5. But the Gilford team of Andrew Caulfield and Grant Workman found a way to win the deciding games, and that was the story of the day. No. 1 Gilford (17-0) responded to the pressure in just enough key spots to claim a 5-4 win and the title.

The Golden Eagles have now won four of the last five D-III championships, and they’ve beaten Bow for three of those four (2011, 2013, 2014). The Falcons lost to Profile in the 2012 final.

“We were outplayed in every championship. It’s tough, but it can definitely happen,” Zbehlik said. “I think maybe another year would be nice to get another shot, but what happens, happens. It’s over. Had a great run, a great career.”

Most of the second-ranked Falcons (15-2) shared Zbehlik’s accepting attitude about their championship-match struggles. They held up four fingers and made jokes about the Buffalo Bills, who lost four straight Super Bowls from 1991-94, as they posed for post-match photos.

“It was tough to lose, but everybody played their hearts out and as you can see they’re not too emotional about it,” Bow Coach Drew Groves said. “They’re more concerned now about McDonald’s or not McDonald’s. We haven’t been going there all year, so this might be their one chance.”

When the Eagles won the title last year, they used a pair of comeback singles wins to take a 4-2 lead and snatch momentum heading into doubles. And they followed that same pattern yesterday.

Gilford took a quick 1-0 lead when Caulfield, one of the top players in the state, used his power and consistency to beat Zbehlik, 8-2. Bow leveled things after senior Josh DeYoung, who was in his first season of varsity tennis, claimed an 8-3 win at No. 6 over Brad Bergman. The team score stayed tied when the next two matches finished as Gilford’s Keaton Quigley took an 8-3 win at No. 4 over Louf and Bow’s Tim Bradley beat Bryce Workman, 8-5, at No. 2.

After that, the Eagles were pulling out comebacks.

Bow’s Ben Maurer had leads of 5-3 and 6-5 at No. 3 singles, but he couldn’t finish Grant Workman. The left-handed Gilford freshman used an aggressive approach and smart point construction to win the three final games and claim an 8-6 win. And that back-and-forth was nothing compared to what happened on the fifth singles court.

Gilford’s Nolan Dwyer won the first four games against Bow’s Jacob Huppe at No. 5 only to see Huppe storm back and take a 7-4 lead. Dwyer answered by winning the next four games before Huppe responded to force a tiebreaker. With all the players and fans from both sides circling the court, Dwyer rolled in the tiebreaker, 7-0, to take the 9-8 win.

“(Huppe) got down early, and I think that was nerves,” Groves said. “Then he started to hit out on his forehand a little bit more and I think (Dwyer) started to get nervous. But when it’s 7-4 you know you’re there, you’re at the edge, and that last game is just the hardest one to win, no matter what level you’re at.”

Dwyer’s win gave the Eagles that key 4-2 lead, forcing Bow into a corner and echoing last year’s final.

“I said to these guys if you find yourselves down use last year … as an example and somehow, point-by-point, battle your way back and give inspiration to the rest of your team,” Gilford Coach Terry Wilson said. “Grant gave us inspiration and obviously Nolan coming back from a 4-7 deficit to win the tiebreaker, that’s what we needed and that carried over into our team huddle prior to going out into doubles.”

That carryover was apparent on the first doubles court as Caulfield and Grant Workman raced out to a 4-0 lead. But Workman double faulted three times to gift Bow the fifth game and give the Falcons an opening, and Zbehlik and Louf jumped all over it. They found passing lanes, knocked off volley winners, played defense with lobs and when Zbehlik held his serve in a three-deuce game, the match was tied, 5-5.

Caulfield reversed that momentum when he held serve at love, and the Eagles fed off that, breaking Louf at love to take a sudden 7-5 advantage. The Falcons broke Workman to make it 7-6, but Zbehlik coughed up two double faults to start the next game and they proved too much to overcome as the Eagles claimed a championship-clinching 8-6 win.

“We spend the majority of our tournament prep on doubles because we all knew it was going to come down to doubles,” said Wilson, whose team won two of three doubles matches to beat Bow, 5-4, in the regular season meeting on April 29. “We all knew that no one was going to win it in singles.”

The two other doubles matches were still on the court when the first doubles match ended and both of them went to tiebreakers. Bow’s Bradley and Maurer claimed a 9-8 (7-1) win at second doubles over Bryce Workman and Quigley, while Bow’s DeYoung and Huppe beat Dwyer and Bergman, 9-8 (7-3) at third doubles.

“We really thought this was going to be our year,” Zbehlik said. “Sadly, Gilford outplayed us, but it was a great match all around.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)

Related

Bow boys’ tennis team’s finals defeats

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Bow boys’ tennis team lost its fourth straight championship appearance yesterday. The results: 2011 Gilford 5, Bow 4 2012 Profile 5, Bow 4 2013 Gilford 6, Bow 3 2014 Gilford 5, Bow 4 …

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.