Tennis Takes Home the Hardware

With exhilarating wins by Michael Kontaxis ’11 and James Heaney ’14 in the semifinals and finals, Andover captured its first Class A New England Championship in almost twenty years, while continuing a remarkable undefeated season. Andover defeated Cheshire Academy in the first round, Loomis Chaffee in the semifinals and Taft and Groton in the finals. Early Saturday morning, Andover took on Cheshire Academy, an extremely talented team with good depth. Andover took the doubles win after the #3 doubles team of Kontaxis and Heaney and the #2 team of Alasdair McClintic ’13 and Hunter Schlacks ’11 both won easily with a score of 8-3. As a result, Andover’s #1 doubles team, co-captains Peter Heidrich ’11 and Mark Adamsson ’11, stopped play at 5-5. Needing only 3 singles wins, Andover capitalized as its depth was able to overwhelm Cheshire. Heaney and McClintic, playing at #4 and #3 singles respectively, easily won their matches in straight sets, with scores of 6-1, 6-0 and 6-4, 6-0 respectively. Andover’s #6 player, Malachi Price ’13, used his forceful forehands to win 6-1, 6-0 and clinch the first round win for the team. Next, Andover took on one of its toughest opponents of the year, Loomis Chaffee, a strong squad which Andover had not yet faced during the season. Andover started out slow, losing the doubles point after Heidrich and Adamsson fell 4-8 at #1 and Heaney and Kontaxis lost 3-8. Finishing up quickly in singles once more was the dynamic combination of McClintic and Heaney, who both won their matches in straight-sets. With Schlacks losing to his opponent at #6, the score stood at 2-2. It was all up to three of Andover’s senior leaders, Heidrich, Kontaxis and Adamsson. Heidrich had an amazing battle with his opponent, taking the second set 6-4 after being down 4-0. He took the match 6-3, 6-4. As Adamsson lost to his opponent in the third set tiebreaker, 11-9, the crowd and the team erupted when Kontaxis won a third set thriller of his own, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Andover then slipped past Taft in another close match. For the second straight match, Andover lost the doubles point, losing #2 and #3 doubles by the same score, 8-2. The team fell into a similar hole as they previously did against Loomis, needing 4 wins from 6 matches against Taft. McClintic was the only player who finished his match in straight sets, easily defeating his opponent 6-1, 6-0. Kontaxis barely lost his match in three sets at #4 singles, falling in dramatic fashion 7-5. With the score 2-1 in favor of Taft, Andover needed three singles matches out of the remaining 4 matches. Schlacks provided that first needed win as he took the second set using his “dink-lob combination,” according to Coach Wilkin. Heaney split the first two sets, taking the second 6-2, but was in an almost insurmountable hole of 5-0 in the third. Using his outstanding consistency, Heaney chipped away at this lead, shocking the Taft fans and players with a 7-5 win. This incredible comeback not only inspired the #1 and #2 players but it also required Andover to win just one more match. With Heidrich splitting the first two sets with his opponent 4-6, 7-5, Adamsson seized the moment, finishing off his opponent 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 with “some big backhand passes and tough serves,” according to Wilkin, winning their first title in almost twenty years. Heidrich was elated with the team’s performance and said, “Each match brought out the best in each one of our players. Mark, Mike, Hunter, and I really worked hard to lead the team as seniors, but James, Alasdair, and Malachi gave us a comfort zone throughout the tournament and season by winning consistently. We’re undefeated and we proved why in the tournament.” After winning the New England Championships, Andover dominated Exeter 6-1, capping off an incredible undefeated season.