Division 1 boys tennis: Amherst storms to title

  • The Amherst boys tennis team shows off the MIAA banner after winning the Western Mass. Division 1 title Wednesday in East Longmeadow. For the Gazette/Kevin Schuster

  • Winning his No. 1 singles match in three back-and-forth sets, senior James Serhant secured the Western Massachusetts Division 1 title for Amherst on Wednesday. For the Gazette/Kevin Schuster

  • For the Gazette/Kevin Schuster For the Gazette/Kevin Schuster

  • For the Gazette/Kevin Schuster For the Gazette/Kevin Schuster

Staff Intern
Published: 6/23/2021 9:38:15 PM

EAST LONGMEADOW — Winning his No. 1 singles match in three back-and-forth sets, senior James Serhant secured the Western Massachusetts Division 1 title for Amherst on Wednesday. The Hurricanes defeated East Longmeadow 3-2, doubling down on their previous win over the Spartans only two weeks ago.

“Well, we knew it would be a really close match,” Amherst coach Jeremy Wise said. “If we were lucky and the brisk went our way we would probably come away with the win. We had a couple of guys who really pulled through for us. We needed to get that third point and between the two singles and the second doubles, they came through for us.”

Amherst will face Central Mass. champion Westborough on the road at 5 p.m. Friday in the Div. 1 state semifinal.

Amherst and East Longmeadow came into this match playing twice already this season with the Hurricanes dropping the first meeting, 3-2, before exacting their revenge a month later to win 4-1. Two prior meetings helped build a scouting report for Wise, who said he could plan for matchups prior to Wednesday’s meeting.

“We kind of knew the likely lineup and how they played, and so we made some adjustments in how we attack, particularly the doubles,” Wise explained. “In all three matches, two of our singles won but their doubles are very good, and they were very aggressive, so we practiced more of the lobbing game to bring against them.”

Serhant faced the Spartans’ Ryan Morneau for the third time this season. After defeating him in both prior meetings, he coming away with a much-needed 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory in Wednesday’s matchup to secure the Division 1 title.

“It feels amazing,” Serhant said. “It was a really tough match today; (Morneau) was playing out of his mind. The first set was absolutely ridiculous [by Morneau] so it felt great to get the win and even better it being the clinching match. I’ve been trying to win this one for four years.”

Following a quick 6-1, 6-3 victory over East Longmeadow’s Bryan Shields, Amherst’s Aengus Cox watched over, awaiting the outcomes of the other four matches. In Cox’s few years with the Hurricanes, he noticed how much growth there has been within the program.

“I’m so proud of this team,” Cox said. “I think a few years ago we thought we could get here, but I think all of us weren’t focused enough and weren’t working as a team. I think this year, the team camaraderie with these kids was really powerful. I play soccer and basketball, but I think this is the most like a team I’ve felt, being in an individual sport, so I think it says a lot about these kids.”

Amherst has been awaiting a title for a long time. Longmeadow had dominated the Division 1 landscape to the tune of 22 straight championships before falling in the semifinal round to East Longmeadow earlier this week.

The Hurricanes are now eager to continue their journey into the state tournament, and continue the legacy next year as reigning champions.

“I think we can go back-to-back,” Cox said. “We have a few seniors, Sachin [Khashu] and James [Serhant] who played really well today, but I know we have kids coming up through the program, and I think every one of these kids has improved amazingly throughout the season. I think we can do it again and if we focus and work hard, we will do it again.”

Amherst’s third win on the day came in its No. 2 doubles match where Siddu Sitaraman and Rohan Shenoy defeated the Spartans’ Viet-Anh Nguyen and Benjamin Giroux, 6-3, 6-4.

East Longmeadow’s two match wins came at No. 3 singles where Dylan Dulchinos defeated Miles Jeffries, 6-2, 6-4, and at No. 1 doubles where Aman Khurana and Patrick Stevens had a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Khashu and Josh Kellogg.




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