Boys tennis: Northampton edges Amherst 3-2 to capture WMass Class B championship (PHOTOS)

By HANNAH BEVIS 

Staff Writer 

Published: 05-26-2023 9:18 PM

NORTHAMPTON – The Northampton boys tennis team had taken both regular season matches against Amherst, 4-1. But with the Western Mass. Class B title on the line, the Battle of the Bridge rematch got a little more heated on Friday afternoon.

Northampton and Amherst battled on Smith College’s tennis courts for the championship, and the Blue Devils completed their season sweep with a close 3-2 victory over their rivals.

Northampton downed the defending Class B champs with wins at No. 1 singles, No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles. 

“You never know who you're gonna play and all that I asked them is that they bring the best version of themselves,” Northampton head coach Ben Lewis said. “Today we really saw that. Reilly [Fowles] has had an unbelievable season at number one singles, and Aidan and Ethan [Metz] have been playing number one doubles also. They’re not the only leaders on the team, but their leadership is certainly very present.” 

Reilly Fowles bested Amherst’s Miles Jeffries 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles while twins Ethan and Aidan Metz bested Brock Waldman and Elias Katsaros, 6-1, 6-1. It took a little longer for the No. 3 point to be decided, with Northampton’s Durrell Patrick and Amherst’s Rory Hartblay needing a little extra to decide the second set, but Patrick walked away with a straight-set victory, 6-2, 7-5, to seal the deal. 

“I was trying to hit a lot of pace and a lot of spin on everything and keep it out of his reach because he can definitely unload on some of those really easy balls,” Fowles said on his match against Jeffries. “It feels great (to win Western Mass.). Everyone’s worked really hard to get here, so it feels good to have it pay off.” 

The two longest matches of the day both went to Amherst in a pair of showdowns. No. 2 doubles pair Talvin Dhingra and Oliver Hansell came back against Maitreya Abend and Reed O’Connor in a three-set marathon. After falling 6-3 in the first set, Dhingra and Hansell forced a seven-point tiebreaker in the second set, which they won, to force a 10-point third set tiebreaker. They held Abend and O’Connor to just three points in the final set, finishing with a final score of 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 10-3. 

After they were done, the No. 2 singles match was still going on between Woojin Kwon and Max Cahillane. Though their match just went two sets, the two were constantly pushing each other to deuces, stretching their match on as the shadows on the Smith College courts grew longer. Kwon finally managed to secure victory in the second set, returning Cahillane’s deadly serves to secure a 6-3, 6-4 win. The two entered into the day with a 1-1 split – Cahillane won a third-set tiebreaker in the first regular season matchup while Kwon took a third-set tiebreaker the second time they met on the court. 

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“Max is a very good player, one of my toughest opponents for sure,” Kwon said. “I feel like I really had something to prove to myself. He got me the first time, I got him the second time. I was really sort of out to show myself that you know, I can beat him again, that I am good enough. And it definitely feels good to have that second win.” 

Though Amherst was unable to get the third win to defend their title, Kwon was proud of his team’s improvement over the season. Both teams will also play in the MIAA state tournament, with Northampton ranked No. 19 in Division 3 and Amherst ranked 42 in Division 2 in the latest MIAA power rankings. 

“I'm really proud of how the guys fought today,” Kwon said. “Of course disappointing that we couldn't get the win, but 2-3 is better than our previous results against them, so I think there’s definitely a lot of improvement and I'm just so proud of how everyone has improved this season on our team.”

Hannah Bevis can be reached at hbevis@gazettenet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Hannah_Bevis1]]>