Noah Sullivan of Inter-Lakes: Boys’ Tennis Player of the Season

  • Noah Sullivan dominated as the No. 1 player for Inter-Lakes this year, going unbeaten in Division III. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 6/16/2017 10:16:47 AM

Not only did he roll through the regular season with an undefeated singles record, Noah Sullivan lost only four games during his 14 matches this spring as the No. 1 player for Inter-Lakes.

Sullivan’s closest match was against Gilford’s Grant Workman, who managed to take two games in April. Workman got one game off Sullivan in a rematch, and Littleton’s Zack Lahout scrape a game against Sullivan. His other 11 regular-season matches all finished 8-0.

It was certainly an impressive run for Sullivan, but the lack of close matches probably hurt him in the singles tournament. He won his first two matches in that event – 8-2 against Kearsarge’s Tucker Valovic and 8-2 against Salem’s Melhem Antar – but then he ran into the No. 1 seed, Souhegan’s Matt Lapsley, in the quarterfinals.

Lapsley, last year’s runner-up, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in that June 3 contest. Sullivan, the seventh seed, rallied and closed the gap to 5-4 when a rain delay halted play for 10 minutes. That broke Sullivan’s momentum and Lapsley went on to win.

“I think one of the unfortunate situations for Division III players like Noah is he doesn’t see that kind of competition regularly,” Inter-Lakes Coach Bill West said. “You look through his record all season, he was walking off the court after 20 minutes with 8-0 wins most of the time. If he had played someone like (Lapsley) or players at that level, I think he would have been more competitive in the singles tournament.”

Still, Sullivan put on an impressive display against Lapsley.

“It was pretty spectacular tennis,” West said. “These guys were both just pounding on the ball, back and forth on their forehands. It was kind of fun to watch.”

West has been having fun watching Sullivans play tennis for a long time at Inter-Lakes. He saw Noah Sullivan improve during his four years in the Lakers’ top six (including two-plus years at No. 1) and develop into a powerful baseline player competing with the best in the state. He’s coached Nathan Sullivan, Noah’s younger brother and No. 4 on the Inter-Lakes ladder. And West also coached Noah and Nathan’s father, RJ Sullivan, who was the No. 1 player on the first Inter-Lakes tennis team 31 years ago.

Plus, Noah’s grandfather, Kevin Sullivan, was directly responsible for getting the boys and girls’ tennis programs started at Inter-Lakes.

“It’s a real tennis family,” West said.

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