The New Englands: On to the finals! Groton defeats Loomis Chaffee and Andover

What an amazing day. After a rainout yesterday, Groton headed to Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut at 6:00 a.m. to compete in the Class “A” New England Championships. Groton was the #1 seed based on being undefeated against other Class “A” teams as well as an overall record of 15-1.

The day started beautifully with a decisive victory against Loomis Chaffee. Groton quickly took the doubles point and then amassed three more points in singles after straight set victories. Groton, in fact, was leading on all courts when the match was stopped after the team had captured the requisite four points. The squad comprised of Trip Wight, Larry Li, Griffin Gura, Will Vrattos, Jack Lionette and Michael Lu simply played with razor-sharp precision. 

It was then time for a lunch break. A little relaxation. And then a rematch against Andover. Earlier in the season, Groton had edged this rival 4-3. So, back at it again. 

Groton struck first, securing the doubles point after Li and Vrattos won, 9-7; a bit earlier, Gura and Lionette also were triumphant, 8-4. Groton 1 - Andover 0. Time for singles.
#3 Griffin Gura was first to the winner’s circle, with a crisp 6-2, 6-1 triumph. Groton 2 – Andover 0. All the other matches were close, with four of them featuring tiebreakers. #5 Jack Lionette finished next. He had split sets, 6-2, 4-6. He then headed to a 10-point tiebreaker. Jack won by a score of 10-4. Groton now led, 3–0.
So, one more match needed! Yet, Andover struck back with a vengeance, capturing two close matches, first against #6 Michael Lu by scores of 7-5, 6-3. Then, Will Vrattos fell, 6-7, 5-7. Groton 3 – Andover 2.
Both #1 Trip Wight and #2 Larry Li were involved in very tight matches. Trip had lost the first set, 4-6, yet won the second in a tiebreaker, 7-6. Larry had won his first, 7-5, yet lost the second, 3-6. Both players would head to 10-point tiebreakers to determine the winner. Groton just needed one of these matches.
It was Captain Larry Li who delivered the knock-out punch. His tiebreaker unfolded as follows: 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, 8-0, 9-0. Now he just needed to win one of the next ten points!  Larry lost the following two points, but then won the next. The match was now over. Groton 4 – Andover 0. The boys rushed the court to embrace Larry.
Coach Conner commented: “I could not be prouder of this team. They played with such heart and such confidence. A look in their eyes revealed that they knew that they would somehow find a pathway to victory. And they certainly did. I was so thrilled to watch how they cheered for each other and rejoiced together in a true TEAM victory.”
The finals are being scheduled for this upcoming week against Hopkins. Stay tuned. Lots of great tennis ahead.