Long, winding road ends in semifinal victory for Bow boys’ tennis team
Evan Maccani returns the ball in his No. 2 single match, an 8-2 victory over Kingswood's Andrew McCall in the Division III boys' tennis semifinals on May 23, 2013 at Bow High School.
(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
Zach Zbehlik returns the ball in the number one match against Kingswood's Alden Garland in the Division III boys tennis semifinals on May 23, 2013 at Bow High School. Zbehlik won his match before the rain rolled in and the meet was relocated to the Goffstown YMCA.
(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
Not two changes in start time, a rain delay or even a change in venue could shift the Bow High boys’ tennis team’s focus yesterday. Especially not Tim Bradley’s.
With the second-seeded Falcons (14-1) leading 4-1 through five completed singles matches and Bradley and his Kingswood opponent tied 5-5 at No. 5 singles, rain began to fall and forced the Division III semifinal match to be moved from Bow High’s outdoor courts to the Goffstown Allard Center’s indoor courts. But 45 minutes, one bus ride, three match points and one tiebreaker later, Bradley wrapped up his match with a 9-8 (7-4) win, sending his team to the Division III finals for the third straight year. Bow went on to win two of three doubles matches to win by a final score of 7-2.
The match was originally scheduled to start at 4 p.m., was moved up to 3 p.m. because of heavy rain and thunderstorms in the forecast, and actually began at 2:40 p.m. Additionally, Bow Athletic Director Jim Kaufman “had a plan in progress,” according to Falcons Coach Drew Groves, and by the time the rain started it was already determined that the match would be finished at the Allard Center.
“The first five matches were decided well before drops started to fall,” said Groves, whose team received wins from No. 1 Zach Zbehlik (8-4), No. 2 Evan Maccani (8-2), No. 3 Arun Luckoor (8-4) and No. 6 Ben Maurer (8-1) prior to the delay.
After a 45-minute delay that included the bus ride south and warmups, Bradley came out on fire and took a 7-5 lead. He had two match points, but his opponent fought back to tie the match at 7-7. Bradley then took an 8-7 lead before heading into the tiebreaker.
“Tim had a great night,” said Groves, adding that he teamed up with doubles partner and fellow junior Nathan Louf to win, 8-6, at No. 3 doubles after trailing 5-2.
Luckoor and Zbehlik also won at No. 1 doubles, 8-6. Harrison Beck lost at No. 4 singles, 8-4, and at No. 2 doubles with Maccani, 8-5, in well-played matches.
Groves also credited third-seeded Kingswood (12-4) for being flexible and being good sports despite a delay and a return to their bus following its long ride from Wolfeboro.
“They were a great group of kids and coaches. They’re a top class of guys. They didn’t complain,” Groves said.
Although Groves acknowledged the high skill level of his players, he attributed yesterday’s strong performance to the mental aspects of the game.
“We’ve been working very hard to not play cautiously, but to play aggressively, and to go out and construct a point to win a point. It mattered today.”
Maccani at No. 2 and Maurer at No. 6 both executed that cautiously aggressive style of play in their victories, both taking early leads en route to decisive victories. Luckoor at No. 3 also went up early and found the range on his forehand in an aggressively played match.
Despite a well-played semifinal, the players know the season is far from over, especially after they lost in the finals last year to spoil an undefeated season. According to Groves, the team is displaying a “let’s move forward” attitude.
“It’s a fantastic team,” he said. “They are jelling and are supportive of each other. They’re excited to be there (in the finals), but they’re not finished yet.”
The championship match will be played on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Derryfield School. The No. 2 Falcons will take on the winner of the semifinal between No. 1 Gilford vs. No. 4 Prospect Mountain, which was postponed yesterday and rescheduled for indoor courts today at 2:30 p.m.
Gilford (14-0) handed Bow its only loss of the season, 5-4, on May 7.
DIVISION II GIRLS’ TENNIS
No. 4 Bishop Brady 6,
NO. 5 Oyster River 3
The Green Giants (13-2) finished what they started the day before, sweeping three doubles matches to complete the quarterfinal that was suspended on Wednesday due to the weather. The match was tied 3-3 through singles before the suspension.
Maddy Moran, Shelby Herrington and Mikayla Clarke, who won at Nos. 1, 2 and 5 on Wednesday, were also a part of winning doubles teams. Moran and Herrington swept their opponents, 8-0, at No. 1, while Clarke and Lynn Yoon won at No. 2 doubles, 8-3. Kate MacMullin and Caroline Urbanek were forced to play a tiebreaker but prevailed with a 9-8 (7-4) win at third doubles.
Bishop Brady next faces a tough opponent in No. 1 Portsmouth (15-0), which defeated the Green Giants, 7-2, in its regular season meeting. The semifinal match is scheduled for today at 4 p.m. in Portsmouth
DIVISION I BOYS’ TENNIS
No. 2 Concord vs.
No. 3 Exeter, ppd.
The semifinal match between the Crimson Tide (14-1) and Blue Hawks (13-2) was postponed due to weather. The teams will try to make up the match today at Memorial Field, weather permitting. If it is postponed again it will likely be rescheduled for Sunday.