EAST PROVIDENCE — The second seeded East Providence High School boys’ tennis team easily advanced past seventh seeded West Warwick in the opening round of the 2022 Division III …
EAST PROVIDENCE — The second seeded East Providence High School boys’ tennis team easily advanced past seventh seeded West Warwick in the opening round of the 2022 Division III championship tournament with a 4-0 victory Tuesday afternoon, May 24, at the KendBrin Swim & Tennis Club in Riverside.
The Townies improved to 13-1 overall with the shutout victory. For the Wizards, their season came to a close with a 7-7 record in league contests. Regular season high school matches are played through seven total points (four singles and three doubles), but playoff outings end once a team reaches the majority score of four.
For East Providence Tuesday that occurred as Miguel Flores, at third singles, and the tandem of Nathan Thurber-Jaydon Amaral, at first doubles, almost simultaneously won their respective matches.
Flores was in command early against West Warwick’s Jesse Levasseur, winning the first set by a 6-2 count. The second set was much closer, Levasseur leading as late as 4-3 before Flores rallied to take the frame and end the match, 7-5.
“Well, we just had to do what we needed to do. We beat them before so we had to beat them again,” said Flores, referring to the Townies’ 6-1 win over the Wizards on the first day of the 2022 season back on April 7.
He continued, “We’ve worked hard all season long. Every day we’ve been over here in the snow, in the rain, in the wind. We needed this win and the goal is still ahead of us. The job’s not finished.”
First dubs was much more in East Providence’s favor. Thurber and Amaral won their first set at love over the Wizards’ Kevin Beaulieu and Brett McCaughey, then finished it off in the second, 6-4.
The No. 2 duo of Jeff Diaz and Adam Sullivan delivered the first point of the afternoon for the Townies, winning their contest 1-and-0 over West Warwick’s Douglas Parry and Loegan Soares.
For Sullivan, it was his 11th win in a row with different partners since he lost in East Providence’s first match of the year and his own first-ever varsity match against the Wizards back on April 7.
“I came in kind of confident,” said Sullivan, a senior who hadn’t ever played tennis competitively before this spring. “I knew I had improved personally since the first match and I trust my teammate.”
James McShane continued his fine form at second singles for East Providence, providing the Townies with their second point Tuesday following his rather one-sided 6-0, 6-3 win over West Warwick’s Evan Manni. McShane used backspin on both sides to keep Manni off-balance the entire match, especially so after he fell behind to the Wizards’ No. 2 by a 3-1 score in the second before winning the final five games of the match.
The Townies were in control of one other outing prior to the overall end of the match. East Providence’s Brayden Rouette led his West Warwick counterpart at No. 1 singles Nicolas Petranglo 6-3 and 4-1 in the second when the proceedings came to a halt.
E.P.’s No. 4 singles player Jordan O’Hara was attempting to rally from a 4-6 loss to Evan Shultz in the first set, building a 4-0 lead in the second when things ended.
West Warwick’s John Correia and Oliver Green were also up a set on the Townies’ pairing of Angel Lucas and Jaydon Massa at third doubles.
The Townies next awaited the winner of the quarterfinal between neighbor and third seeded Providence Country Day and fourth seeded North Smithfield, a match that was slated to take place on Wednesday, May 25, also at KendBrin, the home the Knights and EPHS have shared the past two seasons.
Regardless of the outcome of the PCD-NS match, East Providence will be the higher seed in the semifinals expected to be played at KendBrin as well on Wednesday, June 1. East Providence beat the Knights 5-2 on May 9 and the Northmen just last week 4-3 in North Smithfield.
“It’s our game to lose,” Flores said of the semis and the rest of the postseason. “We’ve worked way too hard to give that up. Our goal is the finals and nothing but the finals. I’m feeling proud of my boys and I feel we can reach it.”
Unbeaten St. Raphael, 13-0 during the regular season, is the overall No. 1 seed in the D-III tourney, atop the other half of the playoff bracket and the only team to defeat EPHS so far this spring. The Saints did so by a 4-3 score on April 8.
Whichever two teams make it that far, the Division III championship match is scheduled for Saturday, June 4.