SHREWSBURY — All eyes were on Court 3 at St. John’s Shrewsbury tennis courts on Thursday evening, as Acton-Boxborough freshman Tiger Tian won his match at third singles.
The win was typical of a season’s worth of tournament upsets and wins grinded out by a single match: The Colonials’ upset over previously undefeated Lexington in the sectional tournament; their 3-2 win over Dual County League rivals Lincoln-Sudbury; and their sweep of Wellesley in the semifinals.
They were all momentous victories made all the sweeter by the Colonials’ 4-1 victory over Westborough in the Division 1 state championship. Tian sealed Acton-Boxborough’s first state title in school history with his 6-2, 6-0 rout of Westborough sophomore Alex Mack.
Tian’s title-clinching win came on the heels of Acton-Boxborough’s sweep in the doubles as seniors Alex Pieri and Leon Fridrikh, the North individual doubles champs, won their match 6-2, 6-0. Senior Luke Rogers and junior Pavel Nikolayev made it a clean sweep with their 6-0, 6-3 victory.
“We have felt it get snagged away from us,” said A-B coach Kevin Curley, whose program had claimed three Division 1 North titles but never a state championship in his 13 seasons with the Colonials.
“We certainly have been waiting for this for a long time,” he said after A-B wrapped up its championship season with a 16-3 mark. Westborough finished 19-3.
Curley noted how some of players on A-B’s starting lineup began at their posts as freshmen.
Colonials senior Ray Boppana capped off his senior year with a win over defending individual state champ Sumukh Pathi 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, while junior Ayman Khan accounted for the Rangers’ lone win with his 6-4, 6-3 victory over junior Sam Maffa in second singles.
Weston 4, Hopedale 1 — Considering the firepower in its lineup, the Weston boys’ tennis team had the right ingredients for a successful spring. But a trip to the state final wasn’t certain.
After junior Isaac Gorelik missed the first five matches of the season with a broken thumb, the Wildcats entered the North sectional tournament with an 11-5 record as the No. 6 seed.
But Gorelik came back to win all but three of his matches.
Armed with senior first singles player John Lathrop, who went 15-4 this season in his only season playing tennis for Weston, the Wildcats proved they were worthy of a berth in the state championship after huge wins over Pentucket in the sectional finals, and Dover-Sherborn in the state semifinals.
Weston (16-5) proved worthy of winning it all after capturing the Division 3 state title with a 4-1 win over Central champs Hopedale (17-4) on Thursday at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury.
In a match that felt like a three-setter, Wildcat sophomore Alex Chaoul topped Hopedale freshman Jack Figgins at third singles, 6-4, 6-2, to clinch the title for Weston. It was a string of long rallies with high arcing balls, and the two were neck-and-neck in the opening set until Chaoul found his fire toward the end of the second.
Lathrop, a Swarthmore commit, and Gorelik won convincingly at first (6-1, 6-2) and second (6-2, 6-1) singles, respectively, to atone for matches they lost in the semifinals against Dover-Sherborn.
“They told me, ‘I want to win my last match of the season,’ ” said head coach George Conlin, whose singles players won their matches by no more than two sets. “And that’s a beautiful thing.”
In Hopedale’s first state finals appearance in program history, first-year coach Dylan Lindsey had nothing to frown about. “It was just an amazing season,’’ he said.Jeremy Rellosa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.