REGION — It was deja vu all over again for the Bromfield boys tennis team, plus one.
The Trojans picked up their second consecutive Central Massachusetts Division 3 championship with a 3-2 victory over Sutton. That was the same match-up as a year ago when the Trojans posted a 4-1 victory.
“I don’t think that the two teams meeting in the finals again was much of a surprise,” said Bromfield coach John Carver. “Sutton had all three of their singles players back. There are some other good teams in the District but these are two quality teams.”
But while Bromfield’s journey ended in the state semifinals last year, they conquered that level this time around by advancing to the State finals with a dominating 5-0 win over Lenox.
Tyler Phelan defeated Sean O’Brien at number one singles 6-1, 6-0. Drew Banker captured number two singles over Shay Swindlehurst 6-3, 6-0. Luke Broganer made it a clean sweep in singles by dispatching Dan Palmer 6-0, 6-0.
The number-one doubles team of James Bowling and Ryan Holmes eased past Brian Paris and Evan Anderson 6-3, 6-3, while the number two doubles team of Matt Colony and Carlson Beale blasted Connor O’Brien and Andrew Vickery 6-1, 6-0.
The Trojans seven-player rotation featured three changes since last season, but sophomore Phelan was a familiar face at number- one singles. Phelan defeated Brian Rothermich of Sutton 6-3, 7-5 in the District finals.
“Tyler was injured at the beginning of the season and didn’t play until May,” said Carver. “It took awhile for him to get back into top form, but he is all the way back. He has been the MidWach C/D Most Valuable Player the past two seasons and his experience is big matches is crucial. He is an outstanding number one singles player.”
Freshman Banker has provided strength for the Trojans at number-two singles and played at number one in Phelan’s absence.
“Drew is bigger and stronger this season and has steadily improved,” said Carver. “He was the number three singles player as both a seventh- and eighth-grader, and I think playing at number one this season allowed him to step up his game.”
Broganer played doubles last season and has stepped up as the number three singles player in 2010. The athletic junior made a smooth transition and showcased a variety of skills to go along with quickness and speed.
Sutton picked up two points in singles in the final as Andrew Rice won at number two, 7-6, 6-1, and Justin Rothermich prevailed at number three, 7-6, 6-2.
That put the match firmly in the hands of the doubles teams, something that lends comfort to Carver.
“Our four doubles players and two teams are very competitive with each other,” said Carver. “They have been strong all season long and they have been very important to our success. The gap between our two doubles teams isn’t much and I think that provides us with an advantage in most matches.”
Against Sutton, the number two doubles team of Beale and Colony evened the match when they defeated Sutton’s Mike Valerio and Tyler Stacy 6-1. 6-2.
The number-one doubles match would be the deciding point and Bowling and Holmes of Bromfield, and Jason Ellis and Dan Sylvia of Sutton split the first two sets, Bromfield winning 6-2 before bowing 4-6.
“Having four strong doubles players is a big plus,” said Carver. “James and Ryan have strong net games and do a good job of closing on the net quickly. They are really smart, poised and patient and they don’t force points. They do a good job of allowing points to develop.
“Carlson and Matt are very athletic and quick and have stronger serves,” said Carver. “All four of our doubles players are juniors.”
Bowling and Holmes came up big in the deciding set, rolling to a 6-2 win to punch the ticket to the state semifinals.
“The Sutton match was tough and exciting,” said Carver. “Our expectations coming into the season were high, although we were well aware that we were replacing three key players. I have always talked about the depth of the team and over the past two seasons that has been a big factor in our success. Not just the kids who play every day, but we have other kids who can step up when required. After the Sutton victory the kids were really joyous. I think they had something to prove this season. They all believed that they would repeat and played with confidence.”
After the big win over Sutton, Carver proved to be a prophet.
“I am happy to get another shot at playing in the state tournament and we enter it this year with a valuable year of experience under our belts,” he said. “We have been there before and we are as confident as we can be.”