By Jean DePlacido
---- — MARBLEHEAD — The final boys tennis match of the regular season proved to be an excellent tuneup for both the Marblehead and Manchester Essex squads yesterday afternoon.
The visiting Hornets finished the season unbeaten with a hard-fought 4-1 victory at Seaside Park.
“We played really well; it was awesome tennis,” said Hornets coach Robbie Bilsbury. “Every match was exciting, and this is great preparation for the tournament.
“We went unbeaten my first year at Manchester Essex and that was 15 years ago, so this is really nice. We have a special group of players this season and hope to do some damage in the tournament.”
The last match to be decided was No. 2 singles, where Marblehead junior Miles Barry and Manchester Essex’ Calvin Lamothe battled as players from both teams cheered them on. Barry was ultimately the lone winner for the Magicians, prevailing 7-6, 7-5.
“That was a tough one,” said Barry after putting Lamothe away with a well-placed shot. “I was really feeling the pressure because it was back and forth the whole way. I just kept playing my game and returned everything I could. I didn’t try to go for many winners; I just kept the ball in play.”
Barry started the season as a doubles player, but quickly was moved to singles. Marblehead (15-4) coach Elizabeth Foukal has been very pleased with his play this spring.
“Miles is a rock,” said Foukal. “He’s a very smart player and has had some incredible matches all season. He manages to stay calm under pressure and doesn’t make many bad moves.
“Even though we lost, this match was very competitive,” said Foukal. “They’re undefeated for a reason. We knew their singles would be very strong, but we had hoped to do better in doubles. There are no weak spots for Manchester Essex, though.”
Manchester Essex won first singles behind Michael Fuca, who defeated Marblehead junior Chris Wigglesworth, 6-4, 6-3. while Sam Girian beat Magicians sophomore Griffin Butterfield, 6-0, 6-1 in third singles.
“It was a pretty good battle, but he was strong,” said Wigglesworth, who suffered his fourth loss of the season (11-4).
In doubles action, Manchester Essex’s first tandem of Jake Rich and Jeff Durkin beat Dimitri Vlassov and Jason Frost, 6-1, 6-4. The second doubles team of Colin Babikian and Josh Christopher won a close match from Marblehead senior captain Alex Rothbard and Michael Forte, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker).