Doubles teams sweep in trio of matches to stay in hunt

Jake Beyer and Ben Gilman

In a trio of matches, 9-4 Edgemont boys tennis swept all 12 doubles matches, dropping only two singles matches to Bronxville along the way.

The Panthers opened the stretch at home with a match against the Hastings Yellowjackets. After sweeping Hastings on the road, Edgemont continued their strong performance against Hastings, once again sweeping them, winning 7-0.

Max Cutler got a taste of first singles with a tougher match against Hastings’ No. 1 player Arman Kapadia. After a close first set at 7-5, Cutler found his groove and defeated Kapadia 6-2 in the second set.  At second, Zach Erber won his first and only singles match of the year without much resistance, 6-2, 6-0.

Even without its usual lineup, Edgemont’s doubles teams was once again solid as coach Mark Romeny switched things up. Doubles have been a key part of Edgemont’s victories this year and they will look to stay hot as they try to win the league and make some noise in the team sectionals.

Doubles teams sweep in trio of matches to stay in hunt scoreboard

“Given it was the third match in three days, it was nice to rotate several players into the mix: Tyler Griffith, Conner Haas, Taka Araki and Jack Friedman,” Romney said. “We showed today the depth that we have in our team which really separates us from the five other teams in our league.”

Depth is important for Edgemont, which had a match every day until the end of the regular season. Players who are not in the regular day-to-day lineup know they have to be ready to play in any given match.

The day after the Hastings victory, Edgemont faced league rival Bronxville. Bronxville was missing a few of its key players, most notably Liam Krall, their top player who is ranked fourth in the state. Nevertheless, Edgemont had a huge 5-2 win over Bronxville to improve their league record to 6-0.

“When the league realignments were announced back in January, I knew we would be in a fight with both Blind Brook and Bronxville to try and win our fifth consecutive title,” Romney said. “With the win today, combined with a similar score win on Monday at Blind Brook, we take a big step toward our goal of winning the league. Both the match today and the Blind Brook match were very similar. Our opponents won both one and two singles and we took third singles and swept all four dubs.”

Edgemont knew this match was likely their most important of the season and the Panthers were up to the challenge. Romney was particularly proud of the way freshman Will Mellis has been playing. “We also got, not unexpectedly, a fantastic win from our fantastic freshman, Will Mellis, at third singles,” Romney said. “Mellis has a great desire to win, which he has displayed since his first match last season as an eighth-grader stepping up to play varsity.”

Mellis still has many years of excellence to come and Coach Romney is certainly excited about the youth on his varsity squad.

Edgemont finished a long week with its third home match against an Ardsley team who almost beat them when the teams met about a week earlier. This time Ardsley was not so lucky as Edgemont, once again, stood its ground for another 7-0 sweep.

The two younger players, Mellis and sophomore Ryan Ho, had matches that went into super tiebreakers. Unlike in the past, the Edgemont boys won both of their super tiebreakers, securing the sweep.

“All season we have struggled in super ties, so it was great to win them both today,” Romney said. “In both matches we opted to invoke the five-minute timeout option before the tiebreak and I think it gave our guys a chance to regroup, take time and really focus on the task at hand. Both Ryan and Will started off strong in the breaker, winning the first four points. I think it’s key to get a lead at the start.”

It was a comfortable win all around without any grueling matches outside of the two singles battles. With that win, Edgemont is a victory away, against Bronxville, from securing their fifth straight league title. Edgemont is 7-0 in league play.

Edgemont’s strong doubles have been essential against tough opponents. Seniors have been dominating the doubles scene both in and out of the league. Jake Beyer and Ben Gilman are a formidable pair at first doubles and have only lost one match the whole year. The other five seniors who rotate in and out of matches provide solid wins at second and third doubles. At fourth, players rotate in and out and always seem to take the challenge head on and the depth of the team allows for a different fourth doubles team almost every match.

“This year, I think all of the seniors have stepped up in some really tough situations,” senior Jacob Meyer said. “We have lost some players to injuries, but because of our experience on the team we have a bunch of doubles teams ready to play.

“Recently we have been counting on the doubles teams a lot to come out with wins in tough matches. It really speaks to our strong sense of team, and we’ve had some new guys like Conner Haas step up.”

Against a singles-heavy Bronxville squad, Edgemont will need its doubles teams to stay strong to secure the league victory. Another senior captain, Zach Erber, recognizes the history behind the strength of Edgemont doubles: “Edgemont doubles have been a backbone of the team for many years and with the return of Matt Alexander from injury, I believe we can get very far in the team sectional tournament.”

It is reassuring for the singles players to know they have a strong doubles squad that has their back. In league play, the Panthers are 27-1 in doubles.

“Our Edgemont boys tennis tradition over all these years of success, going back to the golden era under coach Jim San Marco, has always been based on dominance in doubles,” Romney said. “The formula is simple: If you win all four dubs matches, you are guaranteed to win the match no matter what happens in singles.”

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