Two very talented teams met on the Loomis Chaffee courts on Sunday to battle it out for the Class A New England Team Championship. In the end, it came down to the very last singles match as Loomis Chaffee defeated Andover in a thrilling New England final.
The Pelicans were eager to get the doubles point from the get-go, but Andover was reluctant to give it up. The No. 2 doubles team of senior co-captain Matt Mantikas and sophomore Christian Keenum played well against a tough team and earned the first doubles point for the Pelicans. At No. 1 doubles, senior co-captain Andre Arguimbau and sophomore John Megas looked like they might be able to challenge a team that was undefeated to date; however, Andover came on strong, and the eight -game pro set was lost, 4-8. At No. 3 doubles, senior Will Fantini and junior Kyle Brinkerhoff got off to a slow start and soon found themselves down 1-6. However, as the team has shown to date, giving up was not an option; the team dug deep and made an amazing comeback to tie the set at seven all. The Andover No. 3 team was too tough, however, and they eventually won the set 9-7 as well as the overall doubles point for the match.
The Pelicans were not daunted as they entered the singles competition down 0-1. This team is about determination, resolve, and tenacity. Sure enough, LC was soon up in the match 2-1 as Megas (No. 5) and junior Aashay Vyas '10 (No. 3) both played steady and consistent games to win their matches in two sets. At No. 1, Arguimbau was again faced with a strong No. 1 counterpart from the Andover squad and could not make a match of it, losing in two sets.
With the overall match score now at 2-2, the outcome depended on the very tight matches being played at No. 2 (Mantikas), No. 4 (Brinkerhoff), and No. 6 (Keenum). Mantikas took his first set in a close 7-5 score, but his opponent fought back to win the second, forcing the match to a third set. Likewise, Brinkerhoff and Keenum were soon in a third set after splitting sets. Keenum and Brinkerhoff both did well to remain confident and counter attack their strong opponents. With many Loomis Chaffee fans and supporters alongside the courts, Mantikas was a diehard competitor and rallied as best he could but was unable to get his third set. Brinkerhoff and Keenum now had the home crowd behind them. Brinkerhoff remained poised and steady in his third set and took the match from his opponent.
The overall match score was now 3-3, and the winner of the match at No. 6 singles would take home the trophy for his team. Like all of his teammates, Keenum's opponent was a very skilled tennis player. The entire crowd gathered to watch as Keenum turned his game up a notch and took his third set, his match, and the team victory.
This has been a great season for a great team. Congratulations to every team member for his role in getting the team into the New England Tournament and bringing the 2009 Class A New England Team Championship to the Island known as Loomis Chaffee.
#1: Meyer/Asamsson (A) def. Arguimbau/Megas (LC), 8-4
#2: Mantikas/Keenum (LC) def. Schlacks/O'Neil (A), 8-5
#3: Zou/Png (A) def. Brinkerhoff/Fantini (LC), 9-7
Article and photo from the Loomis Chaffee website