Pingree Boys Tennis won the New Englad Interscholastic Tennis Association Class C Championship match on May 28th. Below see an excerpt from the Salem Evening News from May 29th by Matt Jenkins, staff writer.
Pingree boys tennis coach Eric Olson started to sweat when four of his singles players each dropped their first set in the New England Interscholastic Tennis Association Class C Championship match.
The worrying soon stopped, however, as two of the four players turned their matches around to help the Highlanders capture their first new England tennis crown in school history with a 5-1 win over Bancroft School yesterday at Bass River in Beverly.
Garrett Lane bounced back from an 6-0 first set loss at No. 1 singles and senior captain David Lloyd rebounded from a 6-2 setback to win at second singles, preserving the win for Pingree.
“We play doubles first and whoever wins two of the three matches wins one point. The remaining six singles matches count for a point each,” Olson said. “We won the doubles point to go ahead, and we needed to win only three of the singles matches to win. It got a little nerve wracking when we lost four of the first sets.”
Lane won 0-6, 6-1, 6-1 at first singles and Lloyd won 2-6, 6-0, 6-2. Pingree also got points from Austin Esecson (6-1, 6-2) at fourth singles and Anders Olson (6-4, 6-4) at No. 5.
Olson and Lane teamed up to win a doubles match and Esecson and Sam Stealk won 8-3 to clinch the doubles point for Pingree (11-1-1).
“We had played them before,” Olson said. “We had three really tough matches against them head-to-head. We beat them 3-2 and 4-1 during the (regular) season and had to turn around and play them again. We know them well, and we happened to get by them. We played well and gritted it out each time.”
Pingree also won the Eastern Independent League title for the first time in 21 years earlier this spring and Olson had a feeling his team had a shot at the New England title.
“We had two main goals and the first was to win our league,” said Olson, who is in his seventh year as head coach. “We made it to the (New England) finals three years ago, and we've been in the tournament each of the last four years. We knew we had a shot at it.”
Pingree advanced to the final with a 7-0 win over Wooster School of Danbury, Conn.
Lane (6-1, 6-1), Lloyd (6-0, 6-1), John Bertolon (6-1, 6-2), Esecson (6-2, 6-1), Olson (6-0, 6-1) and Dan Stewart (6-1, 7-6) each won at singles in the semifinal win. The Highlanders also swept doubles behind the tandems of Lloyd-Bertolon, Olson-Lane and Esecson-Stealk.
The future looks bright for Pingree as well. Only Lloyd, Bertolon and Stewart are seniors.
“All three have been four-year varsity players. They're all great kids and good leaders, and they each contributed in a huge way to the season,” Olson said. “It was really exciting to win. There were big smiles all around.”