Division 3 boys tennis: Belchertown ends runner-up status, wins WMass title

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  • Josh Tan, who plays second singles for Belchertown, returns during his match against Matt Petrescu, of Lee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ben Schrenzel, who plays third singles for Belchertown, returns during his match against Cooper Maloney, of Lee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Korey Houle, of Belchertown, who plays first doubles with Colby Masse, returns against Lee during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Josh Tan, who plays second singles for Belchertown, returns during his match against Matt Petrescu, of Lee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Josh Tan, who plays second singles for Belchertown, returns during his match against Matt Petrescu, of Lee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ben Schrenzel, who plays third singles for Belchertown, returns during his match against Cooper Maloney, of Lee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Colby Masse, of Belchertown, who plays first doubles with Korey Houle, returns against Lee to win the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. The volley was the winning point. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Korey Houle, left, of Belchertown, who plays first doubles with Colby Masse, right, returns against Lee during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Colby Masse, of Belchertown, who plays first doubles with Korey Houle, shoots an imaginary arrow after defeating Lee during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Belchertown first doubles players Colby Masse, left, and Korey Houle celebrate their win against Lee in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Colby Masse, of Belchertown, who plays first doubles with Korey Houle, pulls an imaginary arrow from his quiver after defeating Lee during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Maxim Caron, who plays first singles for Belchertown, returns against Chris Petrescu, of Lee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Belchertown first doubles players Colby Masse, left, and Korey Houle celebrate their win against Lee in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Maxim Caron, who plays first singles for Belchertown, runs for a return against Chris Petrescu, of Lee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Maxim Caron, who plays first singles for Belchertown, returns against Chris Petrescu, of Lee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Belchertown team gathers for a photo after defeating Lee in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/11/2019 9:49:12 PM

SPRINGFIELD — Colby Masse ended four years of disappointment with a fundamental forehand.

The shot, down the line past Lee’s No. 1 doubles team, clinched the Belchertown boys tennis team’s first Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship since 2011.

Masse and his partner Korey Houle beat Lee’s Gabe Kelly and Mason Minlek 6-3, 6-2. They were the third Belchertown position to win their match, ensuring the Orioles’ victory.

Once the ball bounced a second time, Masse pulled an imaginary arrow from a quiver behind his back and shot it using his racket as a bow. He and Houle embraced with their arms around each other’s shoulders and patted each other on the back.

“That was unreal. It’s been coming the past couple years,” Houle said. “This one was special because we won it for coach against all odds.”

Belchertown lost in the sectional finalsfour consecutiveyears before breaking through Tuesday at Forest Park. The third-seed Orioles won 4-1 against Lee, the No. 4 seed. They’ll face the Central Mass. champion Monday at a time and site in the west to be determined. Two-time champ Hopedale and Bromfield will play for the Central title at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury.

“A relief. We don’t know how many more opportunities we’re going to be allocated, I certainly didn’t think we were gong to be given it this year,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “This evil is not on them. They didn’t put a lot of stock on what happened in the past. I’m incredibly proud of them.”

Siano coached the Orioles to a sectional title for the second time this school year. He also helmed Belchertown’s redemptive boys soccer championship squad in the fall.

“I came into today thinking for two rebuilding teams, that’s a pretty good result for them,” Siano said.

Belchertown (17-5) graduated six seniors from last year’s tennis team and expected a rebuilding year. Instead, the Orioles delivered the trophy they’d chased for a half decade.

“People stepped up. There were open spaces for kids to move up,” Belchertown senior Max Caron said. “I felt that responsibility to keep that program up and make it here once again and, like we did today, win.”

Sophomore Ben Schrenzel put Belchertown ahead quickly at No. 2 singles. He dispatched Lee’s Cooper Maloney 6-0, 6-1 for a 1-0 lead.

“I think his age was a big thing, he was pretty young. Just having the experience helped, and also the height was a big thing,” Schrenzel said. “I played some consistent tennis, wasn’t hitting as hard as I can and made sure it got in.”

The Orioles’ No. 2 doubles team of Ian Roche and Sam Rogalewski wrapped next with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Cam Tyler and Carter Geoghan.

That set up Houle and Masse for the clincher. They were already up 4-1 in the second set and won two of the next three games to close the match.

“I just tried to keep cool, keep Colby consistent,” Houle said. “We try to keep each other consistent.”

It was a fitting way for Belchertown to win the championship. Siano has built the Orioles program on depth throughout the lineup rather than with standout singles players. Many play soccer with him or other sports at the school and pick up tennis for a spring sport.

“The first three off the court are our doubles and third singles, which is what Lob City Tennis is built on,” Siano said. “A lot of our success throughout the years is manufacturing points through those spots.”

With the match decided, the attention turned to the remaining singles matches. Caron bested Chris Petreson 6-3, 6-4 at first singles, and Josh Tan lost 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 against Matt Petrescu to finish the bookkeeping.

“As soon as I looked over, saw the court was clear and heard that we won, that takes the pressure off,” Caron said. “I started to relax and play simple tennis.”

Siano plans to have the team back to practice Wednesday preparing for the state semifinal. Belchertown gets out of school Friday, so he’ll need to keep the team focused on the court instead of the impending summer.

“They know they have a bigger task at hand here. Teams aren’t given these opportunities too many times,” Siano said. “They’ve seen four teams in a row come to this spot and fall up short, teams I thought, truth be told, were better than this team, but these are the guys who did it. I like to think that they’ll come through.”




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