The 2019 boys’ tennis season was two points away from coming to a dramatic end when 3rd singles Nikhil Choudhary faced a 3rd set tiebreaker tied at 8-8 against his counterpart at Mountain Lakes.
After defeating previously undefeated Leonia just a few days ago to clinch the Group 1, North 2 sectional title, both the New Providence and Mountain Lakes were just two points away from advancing to the Group 1 final later that day.
The Pioneers got to this point thanks to again a strong performance from their doubles teams. The first doubles pairing of David Caminiti and Max Ortiz-Ahedo captured a 6-1, 6-3 victory, paired with a 2nd doubles win for Abhishek Agarwal and Will Krska by a score of 6-1, 6-2 to even up the score at 2-2, as Mountain Lakes had dominated the first two singles positions.
That made things come down to 3rd singles, and after a grueling first two sets that saw Choudhary win the 1st set in thrilling fashion 7-6 (7-2), he quickly dropped the second set 6-1 to set up the climactic 10-point tiebreak to decide the outcome of the match.
Despite being ahead most of the tiebreak, the sophomore found himself knotted up at 8 apiece, two points away from advancing to the finals, and two points from the New Providence season from coming to an end.
Choudhary dug deep and after going up 9-8, he didn’t waste his first opportunity at match point as he won that elusive 10th point and put his Pioneers in the Group 1 final, where they went on to face Highland Park.
Unfortunately for New Providence, they came up just a bit short towards claiming their first Group 1 title since 2014, as they fell to eventual champions Highland Park, 3-2.
All three singles fell short against a tough Highland Park side, as Sho Ogino, Ethan Neidich, and Nikhil Choudhary all fell in straight sets to clinch the match for the opposition.
The Pioneers grabbed their two points from both doubles pairings, as Caminiti and Ortiz-Ahedo won a three-set thriller 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, while Agarwal and Krska won comfortably 6-3, 6-3.
Even though New Providence fell just short in the final, it was a wildly successful 2019 season for the Pioneers that sees all of the starters returning for next year with the exception of their 2nd doubles team. In addition to that, the Pioneers finished in 3rd place in the annual Union County tournament, and of course their Group 1, North 2 title to cap off a 15-8 campaign.
Congratulations to a great season for the boys’ tennis team and be on the lookout next year as they chase the Group 1 crown.