NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Thursday marked the New Providence Boys Tennis Team's first state tournament match of the 2010 campaign. The Pioneers did not disappoint, beating Dayton handily in the Group One Sectional Semifinals on a sun-soaked afternoon.
In the past few years, Jonathon Dayton has dominated Group One Boy's tennis. The team has represented the sole obstacle that has kept New Providence from winning the Group One state title. In 2010, the Pioneers began to reverse their fortune, starting during the regular season. On April 30th, the New Providence Pioneers defeated their conference foes 4-1, overcoming the Bulldogs for the first time in many seasons. This match gave New Providence confidence coming into the sectional semifinal. "Our win against the Bulldogs in the regular season made us believe we could win again in the state tournament," said sophomore doubles player Mike Herrigel.
Coming into Thursday's match, New Providence and Dayton were ranked number one and two respectively in Group One. New Providence had the better record, coming in at 16-2, with Dayton sporting an 11-11 record. New Providence had enjoyed a bye round coming into the semifinal round.
There was a certain electricity in the air, with many of New Providence's and Dayton's fans showing up to support their teams. As the match started, New Providence quickly asserted its dominance at both doubles spots. The Pioneers' first doubles team, Bobby Libera and James Davies, defeated Zac Corey and Brandon Helfand, 6-2, 6-0 in less than an hour. The second doubles team, Mike Herrigel and Tony Therattil, defeated David Pilmenstein and Dmitry Suvorov 6-0, 6-3.
"I think we played a great match. I consider it our best of the season," said Tony Therattil as he walked off the court with a bevy of supportive teammates around him.
As the doubles teams cooled down in the shade, every singles match was still in progress. On the first court, Dylan Glendenning of New Providence and Daniel Karlin of Dayton were locked in a death match. The two upperclassmen battled for every point with ferocity and heart. Fans gathered around to see the emotional Karlin and cool-headed Glendenning face off.
In the end, the match result did not matter. As they were playing, sophomore Rick VanKimmenaede came through for the Pioneers, winning the decisive match 7-5, 6-3 against Ross Konesky. Although VanKimmenaede won in straight sets, his victory was not easy by any means.
With the Pioneers winning three matches, they had won the overall battle with the Bulldogs.
In the remaining two matches, Glendenning and Karlin drew at 6-2, 4-6, and New Providence lost at the second singles spot, with Javier Sanchez losing to Matthew Weubauer 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
The Pioneers will play on Tuesday in the State Sectional Final.