Twin Winners: Belmont High Boys’, Girls’ Tennis Drain SpyPonders, 4-1, To Reach Double Digit Wins; Next A Triple Play Vs Top 10 Teams

Photo: Belmont High’s first doubles Henry Moriarty executing the perfect stab volley vs. Reading

With victories over Arlington on Friday, Belmont High’s Girls’ and Boys’ tennis teams have secured double-digit victories this season. This week, both teams will prepare for the state tournaments with a stern challenge as they will take on three Boston Globe top-10 teams, including the number-one squads from Lexington.

Belmont High Girls’ Tennis

After the team beat the visitors, 4-1, at Winn Brook Elementary School on Friday, May 10, Belmont High Girls’ Tennis Head Coach Eileen White thought back to the last time the Marauders had taken the measure of the SpyPonders, not just once but home and away.

“I can’t tell you when we last beat [Arlington] once,” said White. “It’s been, like, years.” 

The 2024 edition of Girls’ Tennis is officially on a roll. Currently, it is on a seven-match winning streak—having last lost on April 25 to Winchester—and is entering the Boston Globe Top 20 at 14th. Belmont is 11th in the Division 1 MIAA power rankings posted earlier this week.

The record is all the more impressive because the team has yet to have an uninterrupted week of practice and games due to rain, sleet, and an eclipse. 

“Knowing we’ll play in the tournament, we’ll have pretty focused practices. That’ll be good for us actually to be able to practice,” said White.

Sophomore Armela Mahadi, who transferred to Belmont High from Singapore last year, is stepping into the main singles role this season. Playing second singles, Mahadi faced Arlington’s Kate Wolfson, who took their first match in April to three sets. “So I came into this game really stressed ‘cuz the game could have gone either way.”

Mahadi came out with an aggressive style, thinking of “playing to win as that’s the only approach to take as [Wolfson] is such a strong opponent,” and she took the first set 6-1. In the second set, Mahadi said her “game plan shifted a bit, and I was playing not to lose,” resulting in a close set where each player held their service.

“Tennis is a mindset kind of sport, so today it just came down to who would outplay who,” she said, with the Marauder pulling out the second, 6-4. “It was a really fun match and a great experience, as the tournament is coming.”

Sophomore Giselle Fond (second singles) and junior Holly Kong (third) rounded out the singles, with Kong taking the “W” in a slow, steady baseline match. It was the doubles securing Wednesday’s victory as both pairs – juniors Sophie Merrow and Ingrid Hellsvik (6-1, 6-2) and junior Amy Chen and sophomore Avery Cai (6-0, 0-6, 6-1) – prevailed.

“It was very exciting. I’m very proud of them,” said White of the players.

In the coming week, the Marauders will face the three teams they lost to this year. They will play away on Monday, May 13, at number 4 Westford Academy—which escaped with a 3-2 victory at Belmont in April—before heading the next day to Lexington to meet the number one-ranked and undefeated Minutemen. The squad will return to Winn Brook on Thursday for an encounter against sixth-ranked Winchester.

“I think being matched up with the top teams is always good for us because we play really well against them even though usually those girls are a little bit more talented. But that’s good for us because [our [players] need to be playing against elevated opposition. That’s how you get better at tennis; you are always playing people better than you,” said White.

Belmont High Boys’ Tennis

A seven-match winning roll is pretty impressive. How about an eight-game winning streak? Belmont High Boys’ Tennis – coming off consecutive deep runs in the post-season – are setting themselves for a third straight tournament run this year in Division 1 after spending years in D2. And that’s where Marauders Head Coach Dave Benson expected them to be at this time of the season, with a record of 11-3 and battling for second in the Middlesex League’s Liberty Division.

We’ve had high expectations coming in,” said Benson, who helped bring Belmont to the state semi-finals two years ago. While there have been “some adversities” with injuries, including to all-star senior captain Charlie Osburn, “we’re back on track, and I think the guys are feeling good and looking good.”

In its rematch against the SpyPonders (10-4) held in Arlington Friday, May 10, Belmont Julian Wong – who took over first singles – returned from losing the first set and falling behind in the second to pull off a big three-set victory. Osborn, who played second singles, swept his opponent in two sets while junior co-captain Soyam Pokharel dropped his first singles match of the season.

Belmont would secure the win with the first doubles of Ben Miller and Henry Moriarty, who used a high-energy game with their trademark fist pumping and racket tapping to take a three-set grind win. Belmont polished off its 4-1 victory with a straight set win by newly put together second doubles of Brady Chan and Kolya Radojevic.

Like the girls, the next to last week will see the Marauders host number 8 Westford on Monday and number 1 Lexington on Tuesday with a day trip to number 5 Winchester on Thursday.

“We can stay with all those teams as we prepare of the tournament,” said Osburn.

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