Call it what you will, whether moral victory or a confidence boost heading into the offseason. Either way, boys tennis coach Chris Pugliese wanted his team to win the No. 1 doubles point against St. John’s Prep of Danvers.
Even though the No. 2 Falcons had already locked up the MIAA North Division 1 championship, the No. 1 Minutemen still wanted that doubles point Friday afternoon at Newton South High School.
So, with all other matches finished, LHS’ Dan Maffa and Preston Wu continued to battle St. John’s John Corvi and Bradley Noyes. Though it took three sets, the Minutemen came through with a hard-fought 7-6 (8-6), 2-6, 7-5. That brought the final score to 3-2 in favor of the Falcons.
“We took first doubles today, which was a match that I didn’t think I was ever going to grab,” Lexington coach Chris Pugliese said after his team claimed the finalist trophy. “That’s probably the best doubles team in the state. So, for my team to come through and go to a third set with the best doubles team in the state was huge. I’m proud, I’m happy and I’m not going away upset.”
The setback was first loss of the season for the Eagles pairing of Corvi and Noyes. But the team’s victory gave St. John’s its first North D-1 sectional championship since 2003.
“It’s nice to be back here,” St. John’s coach Mark Metropolis said. “Maybe now we can finish it off.”
Now his team will go for its first Division 1 state championship since 2001. On Monday, the Falcons will take on either Needham High School or North Quincy High School, whichever wins the South D-1 title.
The semifinals of the MIAA Division 1 state tournament will be played back at Newton South.
On Friday, St. John’s locked up the sectional championship with a victory at No. 2 singles for its third point of the afternoon. The Falcons’ Spencer Canny defeated Lexington’s Mark Pronchick 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. It was an emotional match, as both players and fans cheered wildly at nearly ever point.
Rawson said he was pleased the decisive point came from the No. 2 spot, which has been a wild card for St. John’s this season.
“That was a big match, Spencer played a solid match,” Rawson said. “We needed somebody to step up and he stepped up. He stepped up as a senior.”
The Falcons picked up their point of their match with Chris Toner’s 6-0, 6-2 victory over the Minutemen’s David Herrera. That was the first match of the afternoon to finish.
Next up, the No. 2 doubles match concluded. It was the second point for St. John’s Prep, as Mike Beluch and Mark Corvi defeated Jonah Bader and Harry Nichols 6-4, 6-3.
It was about that time that the No. 1 singles match finished up. Ben Tso got Lexington on the board with its first point. He defeated the Falcons’ Cameron Trosin 6-3, 6-2.
Despite the loss, Pugliese said he was pleased with the season the Minutemen had and is already looking forward to next spring.
“(This season was) fun, hilarious at times,” he said. “We just had great chemistry. Everybody gets along with everybody. Everybody chuckles and has a few laughs. … Now I’ll have to wait nine months to do it again.”