Boys tennis upsets Medway in marathon tourney opener

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In a week in which the weather kept getting in the way, the Canton High boys tennis team managed to keep its composure and eke out a victory in the Division 2 south sectional tournament, knocking off Medway 3-2 on the road in a match that took parts of three days to complete.

Junior captain Jake Wolicki (Mike Barucci photo)

Junior captain Jake Wolicki (Mike Barucci photo)

The opening round matchup, which pitted the 17th seeded Bulldogs against the 16th seeded Mustangs, had originally been scheduled for Thursday afternoon but had to be called off shortly after play began due to intermittent rain. The competition then moved indoors to the Adirondack Club on Friday, where the teams played the three singles matches and the first doubles match to a 2-2 tie. The following morning, the second doubles duo of Charlie Malloy and Jake Troderman headed back to Medway and sealed the win for Canton with a dominant straight-set victory.

“They came out strong and then again the weather dictated our day as we had a rain delay,” recalled head coach Leo Nelson of Saturday’s clinching doubles victory. “We dried the courts and Jake and Charlie got right back at their winning ways and rolled with a score of 6-1, 6-3.

“Their confidence and the way they closed our first-round match was a pretty sight to watch as a coach. They played at their best at the most important time of the year. I couldn’t have asked much more from these two.”

Nelson was also quite pleased with the performance of his players in the Friday matches, especially given the team’s lack of experience on indoor courts. Despite this disadvantage, Canton still managed straight-set wins from their top two singles players — junior captain Jake Wolicki (6-2, 6-4) and sophomore Jeevith Chandrasekar (6-3, 6-3) — while third singles player Justin Diep and the first doubles team of Aidas Jakubenas and Dillon Anderson both lost close matches in three sets.

Advancing to round two for the second time in as many seasons, the Bulldogs’ luck would run out on Saturday evening against the top-seeded Eagles of Sharon, who improved to 20-0 on the season with a 5-0 shutout victory.

The one bright spot for Canton in the season-ending defeat was the stellar play of Wolicki, who capped off his all-star season with an unforgettable battle against Sharon’s No. 1 singles player, senior Griffin Fein.

After dropping the opening set 6-0, Wolicki stormed back to take the second set 6-1 and even the match. Following another rain delay, play resumed and the two rivals matched each other point for point in an epic final battle that ended in Fein’s favor by a score of 13-11.

“It was one of the best matches I have seen as a coach in my 11 years of coaching,” said Nelson, “and I am so extremely proud of Jake for his level of play, his leadership, and the way he kept his cool during and after the match. He showed his maturity as a captain, as a player, and most importantly as a young man.”

Overall, the Bulldogs finished the spring campaign at 9-9, including 1-1 in the playoffs. Nelson said it was a tougher season than most — due to weather and other factors — but also one of the most rewarding in his tenure as coach. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for CHS boys tennis,” he said.

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