Martha’s Vineyard lands title
Vineyarders cruise by Nashoba Regional
SHREWSBURY - Ned Fennessy didn’t need to say much.
The Martha’s Vineyard boys’ tennis coach, now in his 22d season, had plenty of time to give his players a pep talk during the nearly three-hour journey to Shrewsbury for the Division 3 state title. One look at his players, however, and Fennessy knew to keep quiet.
“We were on the bus, and I figured I was going to give them a big rah-rah speech, and I looked at their demeanor on the bus, and I realized I didn’t need to do anything,’’ he said. “Just let them go out there and hit.’’
The Vineyarders needed only 58 minutes to defeat Nashoba Regional, 4-1, at Saint John’s High School on Thursday. The state championship hardware put an exclamation point on a 23-0 season.
Fennessy said his team was brimming with confidence three days after defeating two-time defending state champion Weston in the semifinals.
“To defeat [Weston] 4-1 was the indicator that the kids rose to the occasion and played their hearts out and got us here,’’ Fennessy said. “And of course today they just continued that. This team is good and it’s got depth.’’
Justice Yennie claimed the first victory for the Vineyarders, defeating Nashoba’s Christian Fletcher, 6-2, 6-0, in third singles. It was Yennie’s 43d consecutive win.
The South Sectional champions captured the state title with victories from its doubles teams. The tandem of Jackson McBride and Natty Schneider took down Josh Bricknell and Ben von Stetton, 6-1, 6-1, in first doubles, while Ryan Sawyer and Justin Smith dispatched Tom Kennon and Jack Slattery in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, in second doubles.
“I don’t take any credit for their skills,’’ said Fennessy, who cited the Vineyard Youth Tennis club in Oak Bluffs, where all his players trained. “I have nothing but accolades for that program for what they’ve done. They’ve made my job so much easier.’’
Though a state title was not to be for Nashoba, the Chieftains (14-6) did collect a win. Pri Vennapusa defeated Patrick McCarthy in second singles, 7-5, 6-4.
“Our guys hung tough out there,’’ said Nashoba coach Brenda Mason. “They did us proud, did Nashoba proud, did themselves proud.’’