Boys Varsity Tennis
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- May 19, 2018
- FALCONS: 5
GILFORD HIGH SCHOOL: 2
By DAN ATTORRI
Sunday, May 20, 2018
The last time the Gilford boys’ tennis team lost, the current seniors were in sixth grade. The Golden Eagles win streak of 97 matches dated back to the 2012 semifinals and included the last five Division III crowns.
Trailing 7-6 at No. 6 singles, with all the weight of the match on the shoulders of Bow’s Daniel Silva and the fate of Gilford’s streak hanging in the balance, Silva delivered a come-from-behind, 9-7, victory, lifting the Falcons (12-2) to a 5-2 triumph over the Eagles (13-1) in the regular-season finale for both teams and a rematch of last year’s D-III championship.
The match was moved indoors to the Gilford Hills Tennis Club due to the weather and the need to complete the matches so NHIAA can complete the postseason tournament brackets. Because of the limited number of courts in play, the players were more aware of the overall score of the match than usual, including Silva, a junior.
After Silva went down 7-6, Bow head coach Drew Groves called a timeout. Bow was leading the match, 4-2.
“I said, ‘This is it. If you win this, we win,’ ” Groves said. “Let’s take care of business, basically. (Silva) is a very clutch, very calm, but very competitive player.”
Dillon D’Alessandro gave Bow an early 1-0 lead thanks to an 8-1 win at No. 4 singles over Colton Workman.
No. 1 Brayden Binder’s 8-3 victory over Christian Workman and No. 2 Caleb Olson’s 8-4 win over Tyler Hanf gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead.
Binder’s win was the first time that Bow has beaten Gilford in the No. 1 match, at least during Groves’s 11 years with the program.
“(Binder) constructed each and every point in ways that he was in control and was aggressive,” Groves said. “From the beginning, he was in control. He played patient, constructive tennis. Clearly his best win of the season, one of the best matches of his career.”
Groves also credited Olson’s role in the victory and in the Falcons’ success this season, pointing out that, “I think he has one loss in singles in the past two years. He has two wins over Gilford’s No. 2. He is clearly one of the most valuable players on a team. He has a very quiet determination.”
Olson also teamed up with D’Allesandro at No. 1 doubles, a pair that just came together two matches ago, to defeat Christian Workman and Hanf, 8-4.
“Dillon closed out a fantastic week,” Groves said. “He and Caleb collectively provided three out of our five wins.”
Gilford No. 3 Mike Eisenmann defeated Zach Mullen, 8-4 and Gilford No. 5 Donny Searle defeated Jon Cook in a tiebreak, 9-8 (9-7) to cut Bow’s lead to 4-2.
Cook trailed 5-0 in the tiebreaker, but battled back to nearly pull off the upset, before Silva completed the match with his victory over Adam Donnelly at No. 6.
“Mike Eisenmann played well, but to be honest, Bow was the better team today,” Gilford head coach Terry Wilson said. “Drew (Groves) and I were both very pleased with the great sportsmanship both teams displayed all day long. It’s everything all coaches want to see. Obviously the boys are disappointed because they tried so hard. They might have felt some pressure. We tried to not talk about (the streak), but it was the white elephant in the room. I’m proud of the guys and how they played today. It was a good match.”
The Falcons are more focused on their long-term goal of getting back to, and winning, the D-III title, but for now they are reveling in their victory.
“They’re excited,” Groves said. “It was a lot of fun. We have lost 11 straight matches to Gilford. My thoughts went back to a famous tennis quote by Vytas Gerulaitis. After beating Jimmy Connors following 16 straight losses to him, Gerulaitis said, ‘Nobody beats Vytas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.’ Well, I was joking with (Wilson), ‘Nobody beats Bow 12 times in a row.’ ”
As for Gilford, “we’re eager to start a new streak (in the tournament),” Wilson said.
The Eagles had already secured the No. 1 seed in the D-III postseason tournament which guarantees them a home match in the quarterfinals on Tuesday against the No. 8 seed, which will likely be Sanborn (7-7). The Falcons, who split a pair of matches against Conant (12-2) during the season, will be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed depending on the tiebreaker.
A first or second seed guarantees the team home-court advantage through Thursday’s semifinals.