BRISTOL - With a divisional title at stake, the Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central boys tennis match on Friday afternoon came down to the No. 3 doubles teams, as both the Lancers’ and Rams’ players gathered around the one court at BCHS to see who would win.
In a tough match between Bristol Eastern’s Michael Miskell and Kurt Miskell and Bristol Central’s Derrick Mensah and Ron Maule, the Miskell brothers won 7-5, 3-6, 10-4 (tiebreaker) and the Lancers won the CCC South Patriot Division title.
The victory also ensured that Bristol Eastern will be sending a complete team of four singles players and three doubles teams into Class L state tournament play.
“We win as a team,” Michael Miskell said. “Even though our set was the last, it was everybody working together. Even if we won ours and others on our team didn’t, it wouldn’t matter, so the credit goes out to everybody.”
For the Rams, it was a letdown to drop the match on their home court with so much on the line, as they still need to win their last match of the season to send a full team into state tournament play.
“I think everybody could have played better,” Bristol Central coach Jeremy Sloate said. “Everybody makes mistakes, but then again, we’re a young team. We’ll definitely grow off the mistakes with this loss.”
Tom Lombardi and Ben Chiasson picked up wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles for Bristol Eastern. Chiasson was in the No. 2 singles spot as Lombardi moved to No. 1 because of an illness on the team.
Chiasson has been impressive this season at No. 1 singles, transitioning from playing doubles last season. Individually, Chiasson is 7-6 in singles on the season and defeated Bristol Central’s Jithu Sajeevan, 6-1, 6-0.
“The competition level is a lot more challenging,” Chiasson said. “There’s a lot more talent, just to be honest, at first singles then third doubles. So I needed to change how I used to play because the court is smaller and it’s just you, there’s nobody else to help you.”
The doubles teams for Bristol Central have been its strength and it once again showed against Bristol Eastern, as the Rams won the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches before dropping the match at No. 3 in a 10-point tiebreaker.
“They’re very important,” Sloate said. “Without the way the doubles teams have performed this season, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”
The Rams’ other win was at No. 3 singles, as Paul Kjornrattanawanich defeated Evan Chapman, 6-1, 1-6, 10-3 (tiebreaker).
Bristol Eastern’s Justin Lacouture defeated James Maule 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 (tiebreaker) at No. 4 singles.
The Lancers moved to 7-6 and are now 7-2 in their last nine matches with one left in the regular season, against Rocky Hill Monday at home, before postseason play begins.
“Once you hit that level, I want the older guys to do their best and see where they stack up against the best in the state,” Bourke said. “And it’s really a great opportunity for the younger guys to improve. Playing against players at a high level only gets you better.”
Bristol Central fell to 7-7 and will look to bounce back on the road Tuesday afternoon against New Britain in a key match.
“Hopefully this loss will motivate them to finish off the season against New Britain next week with a win and get into the state tournament,” Sloate said.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org