Belmont Hill No Match for PA; Strong Doubles Play Secures Win

Captain Dan Wagman ’06 and Michael Li ’06 provided a crucial win at first doubles against Belmont Hill on Friday, leading the Andover Boys Tennis team to a come-from-behind 8-7 victory. Despite this strong start, Andover was unable to carry the momentum over into Saturday’s match, and with Li sidelined by injury, the team fell to Taft 4-3. Andover relied on its deep lineup and strong doubles performances for the road win over Belmont Hill. “It was a good win all around. People played tough and kept their focus,” said Coach Greg Wilkin. Though the match appeared close in the early stages, Belmont Hill dominated the upper ladder matches. Captain Wagman, who recently overtook Li for the number one position was overmatched and lost 6-1, 6-3. His aggressive playing style allowed him to make some games interesting, but in the long run, his opponent’s consistency was too much to handle. Trey Meyer ’09 finished soon after Captain Wagman. Meyer combined his excellent shot-making ability with his strong mental game. He kept his opponent on the run and cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win. Though the overall match score was tied at this point, Andover’s prospects did not look promising at positions two and three. Li’s match at number two was more competitive than Captain Wagman’s had been, but Li ultimately lost 7-6, 6-4. He fought hard but was inconsistent and often lacked sufficient depth on his ground strokes. Andrew Chan ’08 lost 6-1, 6-3 at number three. Though Chan has superb shot-making ability, he has been on a cold streak lately. He was not aggressive in his match, and once his opponent took the lead, Chan was not able to regain any momentum. Now in a hole, Andover needed to rally. Foster Jebsen ’08 and Matt Schubert ’07 provided a much-needed boost. Jebsen won quickly in the fifth spot, using heavy topspin to pick on his opponent’s weak backhand. Schubert, playing number six, also came up with a win. Though his opponent challenged him at times, Schubert prevailed with the aid of late-match consistency. The wins at positions five and six brought the overall match score to a tie. This left the match to be determined by the doubles play. Though doubles was one of Andover’s weak points last year, the team has taken steps to improve that part of its game. This work paid off against Belmont Hill. Captain Wagman and Li, playing at first doubles, were the first to finish, but their match was the most competitive. In a clutch victory, they won 8-6 in a tiebreaker and came out on top in games 9-8. Schubert and Chan won 8-4 at number two shortly thereafter, tipping the scales in Andover’s favor. With Li on the bench Saturday due to a knee injury, Andover’s depth was tested. All players below number two on the ladder were forced to move up one position. Though Andover came close to victory, Taft won 4-3. The doubles competition came first. Andover lost two of the three doubles matches, giving Taft an early 1-0 lead (the team that wins two of the three doubles matches receives one point). Trailing early, Andover would need to win four singles matches for an overall team victory. The team came just short, however. Meyer, Jebsen and Schubert won, but Captain Wagman, Chan, and Toby Clark ’07 lost.