NHIAA D-III Boys' Tennis Championship: Gilford edges Bow for second straight title
MANCHESTER — The good news for Gilford and the bad news for Bow is some things just never change in Division III boys tennis.
For the second straight season and the fourth time in five seasons, top-ranked Gilford captured the state title with a 5-4 decision over second-seeded Bow at Derryfield School. Gilford (17-0) completed its second straight undefeated campaign and ran its unbeaten streak to 33 straight triumphs.
Unfortunately for Bow, the program returned home with its fourth straight runner-up crown, losing three of its last four title bouts against Gilford. Bow lost to Profile of Bethlehem in the 2012 finals.
For the fourth straight championship finals, Bow also entered the doubles portion of its match down 4-2.
“To be honest about it, we’re just tired of it,” said Bow coach Drew Groves. “Once again we played hard, the effort was tremendous and we just fell short.”
The turning point in the match occurred at No. 5 singles between junior Nolan Dwyer of Gilford and senior Jacob Huppe of Bow. Dwyer started strong, taking a 4-0 lead. But Huppe roared back to win the next seven straight games. Then Dwyer forged back and managed to produce an 8-8 score, leading to the all-important tie-breaker.
The other singles matches had ended when the tiebreaker started and suddenly Dwyer and Huppe were in the spotlight playing in front of a large gathering. Dwyer ended up winning the tie-breaker 7-0 and gave Gilford a 4-2 edge heading into the doubles portion.
It was a big win considering Bow ended up winning two of the three doubles’ matches. But Gilford clinched its eighth overall state title when No. 1 singles player Andrew Caulfield and freshman Grant Workman prevailed 8-6 against the Bow tandem of Zack Zbehlik and Nate Louf.
“Unlike last year when I was a sophomore, I knew this year I had to step up and lead this team,” said Caulfield, who finished this season undefeated in singles and doubles.
In singles, Caulfield defeated Zbehlik 8-2 and Workman captured an 8-6 decision against Ben Maurer at No. 3. Gilford’s Keaton Quigley posted an 8-3 decision against Louf at No. 4. Bow’s two singles wins came off the rackets of No. 2 player Tim Bradley, an 8-5 winner over Bryce Workman, and No. 6 Josh DeYoung, an 8-3 victor against Brad Bergman.
Although the match was over while they were still playing, Bow’s double teams of Bradley/Maurer and Huppe/DeYoung each won 9-8 decisions. Bradley and Maurer toppled Bryce Workman and Quigley 7-1 in their tie-breaker at No. 2 and Huppe and DeYoung prevailed 7-3 over Dwyer and Bergman at No. 3.
“Every match has its key moments and there’s no question Nolan’s win was one of them,” said Gilford coach Terry Wilson. “Grant Workman also had a big win there for us at No. 3. But our team knew all along this match was going to be decided in the doubles. Bow is just too good of a team. It’s only fitting Andrew (Caulfield) closed it out for us. He took Grant under his wings and he’s our leader.”