Milton, Choate, PEA Take Turns Pounding PA Tennis

Coming off of a rejuvenating win against archrival Exeter, the P.A. Boys Varsity Tennis squad was unable to hold off an accomplished Milton team. Andover fell at the hands of the premier New England tennis program, losing 0 – 7. The loss to Milton was the latest episode in a season that has been generally erratic for the boys in blue. Prior to the convincing victory against Exeter, the Blue had gone 5 – 2. Despite jump-starting the season with an early 3 – 0 run, key losses against N.M.H. and Deerfield proved to be a setback for P.A. Both defeats- including the latest against Milton- have been away games, leaving the team with a flawless home record. After a victory against Exeter, however, Andover seemed generally unprepared to contest with a more experienced Milton group. Andover was pushed around from the very outset of the doubles matches. In the first game, Milton’s number one and three seeds overcame PA’s top doubles team of Li ’06 and Simon Hawkins ’03 with a 1 – 8 score. In the second doubles competition, the Blue’s Joe Musumeci ’03 and Russell Dykema ’04 were less than effective against their opponent’s number two doubles team and were defeated, 1– 8. Under the NCAA regulations that both teams observe, the winner of the first two doubles matches receives one point towards their overall score. Thus, Milton went up early, 1 – 0. In the singles games, the Blue fared little better than it had in doubles. The top-seeded Li started off all matches with a loss to his opponent, by a margin of 2– 6, 0 – 6. Milton’s premier player, a ranked athlete who has received region-wide recognition, made use of an advantage in strength and experience in overcoming a slightly undersized Li. Musumeci was also unable to hold off his opponent, falling by the score of 4 – 6, 1 – 6. Dykema and team Hawkins both lost in their matches as well. Despite exemplary effort and commitment on behalf of both players, each suffered defeat by the score of 1 – 6, 3 – 6, in his respective matchup. John Weigel ’05 lost his match by going down in the first set and then rebounding, only to fall agonizingly short of victory with a score of 2 – 6, 5– 7. His opponent made use of a consistent, down-the-line forehand shot to deny Weigel the win. In closing out the final match of the day, Dan Wagman ’06 lost to his opponent 2– 6, 2 – 6. Andover continued its recent slump by suffering defeat at the hands of rival Choate with a score of 5 – 2. The loss was an overall disappointment for the Blue with Choate commanding the early doubles matches and winning all three by the scores of 8 – 2, 8 – 4, and 8 – 6. Despite faring slightly better in singles matches, Andover was nonetheless unable to pull away with a victory. Top-seeded Li continued his virtually-undefeated season by trouncing his opponent in only two sets, 6 – 4, 6 – 1. However, the team’s next top three players, all veterans of the PA squad, went down to defeat and provided Choate with a margin that would have proved difficult to overcome. Musumeci was bested by his opponent, 1 – 6, 0 – 6 and third-seeded Dykema also fell to his adversary by the equally dissatisfying score of 1– 6, 2 – 6. Captain Hawkins also lost to his opponent in three hard-fought sets by a score of 7– 5, 4 – 6, 3 – 6. Although Weigel was able to win his match by a score of 7 – 6, 6 – 2, the sophomore’s effort came simply too late. With the game all but over, sixth-seeded Wagman was unable to dig out the win despite playing a full three-sets worth of tennis. Andover’s rematch against Exeter finished up as a disappointing encore performance to the Big Blue’s exemplary dismantling of the Red during the two school’s previous encounter. After the Blue won its first doubles match of the afternoon, 8 – 6, all signs indicated that it could have been another cakewalk for the team that had trounced the Exies 6 – 1 in their first match of the season. However, by losing the next two doubles contests, Andover gave up the coveted point to its archrival, allowing Exeter to go up 1 –0 in the early run. Li pulled away with victory yet again in his singles match, winning in three sets. Although Musumeci suffered defeat for his second consecutive game, it was Dykema’s match that served as the focal point of the afternoon, as he lost the match in three sets. In subsequent singles competitions, Hawkins and Weigel both won their matches. As the blow that gave Exeter the final edge, Dan Wagman lost his match, 5 – 7, 2 – 6. The narrow loss to Andover’s historical archrival brings the Boys Tennis Team to a low point for the season. In riding its unprecedented three-game losing streak, the Blue now rests with a record of 5-5.