Belchertown earns No. 1 seed in boys Division 3 tennis tournament
Jonah Hahn, of Northampton, returns against Jacob Barbieri, of Westfield, during a no.3 singles match Tuesday in Northampton. JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »
Playoff tennis has arrived. After an eventful regular season, the Western Massachusetts Division 1 and 3 Boys Tennis Tournament seeds were released Wednesday.
The first round of the Division 3 tournament features a matchup of two teams, Belchertown and Frontier, that couldn’t be more different from one another. The match is Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Belchertown.
The Orioles (18-2) secured the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Orioles will look to capitalize on the strong play of their top two singles players, senior Kevin Lindhult and junior Ethan Smith, who both finished the year 14-0.
The Red Hawks (8-8) have struggled at times during the season to put a team on the court. They were down to about nine players toward the end of the season, with coach Steve Barrett using seventh-graders at times. The coed Red Hawks played a girls schedule but opted to compete in the boys tournament so all of the players on their roster can participate. Barrett said that he hoped his team can “look at the big picture and take away a positive experience from playing in the tournament.”
Senior Ricky Fields posted an overall record of 14-2 at first singles for Frontier.
Third-seeded Northampton, with second-year coach Kenneth Hahn at the helm, looks to improve its postseason play over last year, when the team lost in the first round to Amherst.
After dropping the first two matches of the season (first to top-seeded Longmeadow, then to No. 2 Minnechaug), the Blue Devils won 10 of their next 12 to finish 10-4.
Northampton is led by senior Jonah Kudler-Flam. With a 6-4 record as the Blue Devils’ No. 1 singles player, Kudler-Flam is considered among the best boys players in western Mass. He received a sixth seed and lost in the quarterfinals of the individual tournament.
“That 6-4 record is deceiving,” Hahn said. “He lost some really hard fought matches against tough competition. He’s been one of our strongest players.”
The Blue Deviles also post one of the top-ranked doubles pairs in western Mass. Jordan Maurer and Jonah Hahn went 7-3 and were seeded No. 2 in the individual tournament. Northampton will host Central in the first round at 3:30 p.m. at JFK Middle School on Friday.
“We have a very strong team this year,” Hahn says. “I’m almost positive we’ll be able to move on past the first round.”
Amherst finished the season 9-6 and earned the fourth seed. The team will host Chicopee Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Amherst Regional Middle School. Amherst beat Chicopee 4-1 on April 23.
The Hurricanes entered the season with the difficult task of trying to replace Tom Suchodolski, a two-time individual champion.
James Kirwan took over at No. 1 and went 2-10 against some of the best players in western Mass. Freshman Andrew Zyskowski stepped up for the Hurricanes and went 10-4 at No. 3 singles.