WOBURN — The St. John’s Prep tennis team needed a big day from its singles players in Saturday’s North Division 1 final against Westford Academy, because the Grey Ghosts defeated both Eagles doubles teams in the individual state tournament.
Chris Toner, Dan Cunningham and Niko Limacher were up to the challenge. The Eagles swept the singles matches, and both doubles teams avenged their losses, as fourth-seeded St. John’s downed No. 2 Westford Academy 5-0 at the Woburn Racquet Club to win the North.
The Eagles advance to the Division 1 state semifinals today at Newton South, where they will play the winner of the South sectional final between BC High and Newton North.
“The singles came out and set the tone immediately,” said Prep (15-4) head coach Mark Metropolis, whose Eagles lost to Lexington in last year’s North final. “They (WA) beat both our doubles teams in the individual tournament, so singles knew there was a chance we’d lose both today. So we made sure everyone came out focused. It’s the finals, so you have to bring your A-game.”
Toner defeated WA’s (15-4) Christien Colomb at first singles 6-1, 6-1 in a match that was never in question. The Eagles top singles player dominated in the service game, nailing his first serve consistently, while Colomb struggled in both the serving and return game.
“I serve particularly well, and the courts are fast here, so I just tried to get my first serve in,” noted Toner. “On my returns, I just tried to put the ball in play. He (Colomb) has a pretty good forehand, so I tried to keep him on his backhand and just play smart.”
Cunningham and Limacher are both big, tall players with explosive serves, and both were on the top of their games Saturday. Cunningham defeated Kevin Chen 6-1, 6-2 in a match that saw the former dictate play with smart shots that kept Chen constantly on the move.