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WMass boys tennis: Belchertown reaches fourth straight trip to Division 3 finals

  • Cyrus Raines, of Belchertown, returns during his first singles match against Monument, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Belchertown High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Noah Pare, of Belchertown, returns during his second singles match against Monument, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Belchertown High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Cyrus Raines, of Belchertown, returns during his first singles match against Monument, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Belchertown High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Noah Pare, of Belchertown, returns during his second singles match against Monument, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Belchertown High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Max Caron, of Belchertown, returns during his third singles match against Monument, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Belchertown High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Max Caron, of Belchertown, returns during his third singles match against Monument, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Belchertown High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@kylegrbwsk
Wednesday, June 06, 2018

BELCHERTOWN — Max Caron shouldered his black racquet bag and nonchalantly exited Belchertown’s fenced-in tennis courts.

The junior No. 3 singles player clinched the Orioles a spot in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tennis Tournament final with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Monument Mountain’s Raphael Gutierrez, but he walked off the playing service like he’d just wrapped up practice.

“Our eye’s on the prize. We’ve still got a heck of a game coming up in the final,” Caron said. “We’re still hungry.”

Belchertown’s sideline didn’t raucously celebrate its 3-2 win over Monument Mountain Wednesday, either. The Orioles lost the last three sectional finals to Mount Greylock. They aren’t in a position to commemorate getting to the championship game a fourth time.

“We don’t care about league titles, we don’t care about getting to the finals. It’s about winning the finals,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “They care about winning this year and getting over the hump.”

Unlike the previous three years, Mount Greylock won’t be waiting. The top-seeded Orioles (17-3) will face No. 3 South Hadley (11-8) in the finals, Friday. A site and time have not been determined.

The Orioles started Wednesday’s match with a leg up. Monument Mountain didn’t field a second doubles team and forfeited that position.

“I’ve had one match this year where I had a full team. Every other match we started one down,” Monument coach Howard Arkans said. “Makes it tough to win.”

Belchertown doubled its advantage quickly with a victory at first doubles. Nolan Vogel and Mike Laughner took down Noel Powell and David Killmer 6-2, 6-2. The Orioles controlled the net with their athleticism and regularly finished off points with close-range smashes.

“It’s the easiest thing for us, all we’ve gotta do is jump,” Vogel said.

Monument closed the gap to 2-1 when Kadin Shafiroff beat Cyrus Raines 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 singles.

“I thought he played one of his better matches,” Siano said. “I know the score isn’t necessarily indicative of that, but I thought he played with a lot of heart today and his strokes looked better than they have in a long time. That’s encouraging going forward.”

Belchertown led both No. 2 and No. 3 singles matches 1-0, so the match appeared to boil down to who would get the clincher.

Caron finished first comfortably.

“My serve was on early on, that helped me get off to a good start and out ahead,” he said.

The No. 2 singles match continued. Noah Pare won the first set 6-4 before falling 6-4 in the second set to Zachary Goffin. Because the team match was decided, they played a 10-point pro set in lieu of a full set. Pare fell 12-10 despite earning a shot at match point leading 9-8.

“I know Noah was mad, he wanted to win that match, but (Goffin) plays very similar to how Noah plays, he digs a lot of stuff out, and when he needs to he can turn up the pace. It was kind of a taste of his own medicine,” Siano said. “It was an odd day, and I told him I’d rather him get the bad one out now than in the final.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.

Belchertown 3,
Mounument Mountain 2

at Belchertown

First singles: Kadin Shafiroff (MM) def. Cyrus Raines, 6-2, 6-1; Second singles: Zachary Goffin (MM) def. Noah Pare, 6-4, 4-6, 12-10; Third singles: Max Caron (B) def. Raphael Gutierrez, 6-2, 6-1; First doubles: Nolan Vogel & Mike Laughner (B) def. Noel Powell & David Killmer 6-2, 6-2; Second doubles: Belchertown won by forfeit

Records: Belchertown (17-3) Monument Mountain (8-4)