The Bromfield boys continued their winning ways Monday afternoon, June 10, beating Auburn High School 4-1 in the MIAA boys tennis Central Division 3 semifinal playoff on their home court.
Following Monday’s win and their quarterfinal win over Sutton last week, the Trojans’ season record is an enviable 20-1, the best in their district, and they are headed to finals later this week where they will battle fifth-seeded Hopedale (15-3) for the district championship.
Third doubles player Raymond Li has his eye on the ball as he returns a strong backhand. (Photos by Lisa Aciukewicz)
“We were excited to come away with a tough win against an experienced Auburn team,” Coach Ryan Holmes wrote in an email. “The goal all year was to get a chance to play the two-time defending champions, Hopedale; Wednesday, we will finally have that chance.”
The victory was not an easy one. Auburn (15-1) was the third-seeded team in the district, its entire line-up consisting of seniors, all with excellent season records. While Bromfield third singles player Raymond Li and first doubles players John Parlee and Tom Khuu quickly dispatched their opponents, second singles veteran senior Charlie Bardenheuer and second doubles players Ziyad Ali and Nick Thornton needed determination and stamina to overcome theirs. Earlier, Auburn’s dominant first-singles player Sebastian Smreczak had defeated Bromfield senior Jake Catalina in back-to-back sets.
Team captain Baudenhauer won his first set against Auburn senior Michael Robichaud in a taxing 7-6 tiebreaker. But he rallied in his second set to score a more convincing 6-4 win after nearly two hours of play, finishing the match with a signature volley from the net.
On the second doubles court, a two-hour battle left Bromfield and Auburn tied 1-1 as the cloudless afternoon waned. By then Bromfield had already won the playoff 3-1, so the coaches agreed to a 10-point tie-breaker to decide the outcome of the remaining third set. Following a 10-minute break, Ali and Thornton returned to narrowly win their match 10-8, raising Bromfield’s margin of victory to 4-1, to applause from the small crowd that had gathered to watch their play.
Auburn’s players had a unique style that made it difficult for Bromfield’s players “to get in a rhythm,” wrote Holmes. “They play slow, with long points that force mistakes.” He praised his players for their patience and for staying focused. “Our team has power hitters, finesse players, and grinders. We were fortunate that the match-ups worked in our favor.”
The district finals will be played at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Wednesday, June 12, at 4:30 p.m.
1st singles: Sebastian Smreczak (Auburn) defeated Jake Catalina, 6-0, 6-0
2nd singles: Charlie Bardenheuer (Bromfield) defeated Michael Robichaud, 7-6 (2) (tiebreaker), 6-4
3rd singles: Raymond Li (Bromfield) defeated Ethan Ly, 6-2, 6-2
1st doubles: John Parlee and Tom Khuu (Bromfield) defeated Dawson Gemme and Graham Latino, 6-2, 6-1
2nd doubles: Ziyad Ali and Nick Thornton (Bromfield) defeated Dylan Tang and Max Strong 7-5, 6-7 (tiebreaker), 10-8
1st singles: Noah Sylvia (Sutton) defeated Jake Catalina, 6-2, 7-6 (8) (tie-breaker)
2nd singles: Charlie Bardenheuer (Bromfield) defeated Matt Kaplan, 4-6, 6-0, 6-2
3rd singles: Raymond Li (Bromfield) defeated Eric Johnson, 6-3, 6-3
1st doubles: John Parlee and Tom Khuu (Bromfield) defeated Lincoln Clark and Foley Williams, 6-1, 6-1
2nd doubles: Nick Thornton and Ziyad Ali (Bromfield) defeated Rayhan Sobodu and Jack Moy, 6-1, 6-1
Second doubles player Ziyad Ali poaches a ball at the net as his doubles partner Nick Thornton backs him up. (Photo by Lisa Aciukewicz)