Wellesley girls used a win at third singles, a tiebreaker win in the second set at first singles and a third set victory at second doubles for the Raiders to beat the Sharon girls, 3-2 in the D1 South Final.
And the Duxbury boys took a win in straight sets at first singles and then fended off rallies at second and third singles, winning both in three sets to edge the Sharon boys, 3-2 in the D2 South Final.
The Sharon girls team was up first, facing off against the top-seeded Raiders (19-0). The Eagles were able to jump out to a lead with wins at first doubles and second singles to go up 2-0.
Freshman Nupur Shulka concluded her stellar rookie campaign with a quick 6-4, 6-2 win at second singles. Shulka rallied from a 3-4 deficit in the first set with three straight wins to clinch the first set. The freshman was in control throughout in the second set, jumping out to a 4-1 lead before finishing off Wellesley’s Caitlyn Avery.
“And she’s going to be even better next year,” beamed Sharon head coach Diane Micheroni. “She’s determined, she plans on working hard all of summer so we’re excited for next year, we want to build a powerhouse in both singles and doubles.”
The Eagles were forced to mix up their doubles teams after senior Pooja Puttigampala, a four time league all star, was forced to miss the match with a death in the family. Katie Merport made the jump from second doubles to pair up with Michal Kondratiev
The switch didn’t hurt the Eagles though as the two led throughout the entire match, picking up a 6-3, 6-3 win.
Wellesley battled back with Ashley Avery, the South sectional individual champion this season, getting a 6-3 win in the first set and then taking a thrilling 9-7 tiebreaker to get a 7-6 win in the second set over Sharon sophomore Lulu Yuan. Wellesley tied the game at 2-2 with a win at third singles in straight sets.
“She certainly battled,” Micheroni said. “Am I surprised? No. I know she has the capability, she has a great game and we’re excited to have her back next year.”
Sharon’s newly formed second doubles team of Rithica Neti and Sydney Gordon, who had only played together once before, battled back from a 3-4 deficit in the second set, eventually scoring a 7-3 win in a tiebreaker to get the 7-6 win and force a third set.
“What they did today was very impressive,” Micheroni said. “Especially with Sydney stepping into a situation where she hasn’t seen much. She hasn’t played in any playoff matches yet, she was fantastic though, I couldn’t ask more for her.”
Wellesley’s pair of Pooja Reddy and Alexis Tsang showed off their experience together, scoring a 6-2 victory in the final set to secure the match and the title.
“I’m proud of the girls,” Micheroni said. “They are a great team and they fought hard. It came down to the third set, so what more could you ask. The kids were great all year and all of the matches were close today.”
“We look strong for next year,” Micheroni said. “We’re losing both of our number one doubles [to graduation] but our number two doubles should be able to step right up. They were split up today but I think Katie Merport and Rithica Neti are ready to step up next year. Then we have some freshman, some JV kids that are just waiting for their turn. Our plan is to be here again next year.”
The top-seeded Sharon boys team jumped out to a quick lead as well in their match against #2 Duxbury but the Dragons fired off wins at all three singles matches to get the win.
“They are just an amazing group of very smart, devoted, hardworking guys,” Sharon head coach Joan Cutter said.
The Eagles absolutely dominated doubles play, taking a lead right off the bat in both matches and never looked back.
Freshman Danujan Thirumavalavan and senior Tilak Mehta dominated at second doubles, losing just one match in a 6-1, 6-0 win to give Sharon a 1-0 lead.
Adam Dobbin and Alex Romantz both had strong serves and used the full court to their advantage with a handful of nice shots down the line. The pair, which has been terrific all season, concluded their season with a 6-3, 6-1 win and gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
“The doubles have really learned to play together as a team,” Cutter said. “Every time I went over there, they were fine. They did what they needed to do, they were great. And they all want to be playing singles too. Tilak and Danujan really wanted to play singles but they were willing to learn to play doubles together.”
Duxbury’s Eric Sewald brought the Dragons right back in, using a torrid serve to sweep Sharon’s Griffin Fein, the Hockomock League MVP this year, 6-0, 6-0 at first singles.
Sharon sophomore Fred Bondar impressed with a comeback at second singles after losing the first set. Bondar settled in and picked up a 6-4 win in the second set but Duxbury’s Ethan Mall tied the match 2-2 with a win in the third set.
That meant the match came down to Sharon senior Han Cui, who entered the contest unbeaten this season, and Duxbury junior Jack Simon.
Simon overcame an early deficit to take the first set, 6-4. Cui did the same in the second set, coming back to win 6-3 and force a deciding third set. Simon jumped out to a 4-1 lead and then a 5-2 advantage. Cui fought off match point twice to win two sets to close the gap to one. Cui carried the momentum and looked to have tied the match when his long floated shot hit the line but his shot was called out, clinching the win for Duxbury.
“Han’s just amazing, he’s so steady,” Cutter said. “He’s going to Dartmouth next year. I think he was actually a little nervous. His opponent played very well in the first set but Han got in there in the second, he’s very analytical and figures out his opponent and how to play him. In the third set, his opponent played very. very well.
“He played his own style, his own way. If anyone could have done it, with that kind of pressure, it would be Han.”
Sharon girls tennis finishes the season at 19-1 but the future looks bright with all three singles players back as well as second doubles. Sharon boys tennis finishes 20-2 overall and will bring back both first and second singles, as well as Alex Romantz and Danujan Thirumavalavan from doubles play.