Fink Three-Setter Secures Mount Greylock Boys' Western Mass Three-Peat
LEE, Mass. -- By the time Jacob Fink’s third set got under way in Friday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 title match, his was the only game in town.
All eyes were on Fink and Belchertown’s Jon Vinagre as they squared off in the set that would decide a team match tied at two wins apiece.
And Fink was loving it.
“I love the support,” Fink said after beat Vinagre, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, to give the Mounties their third straight sectional crown. “You have all these great people who come out to watch. I don’t want to lose. It totally motivates you. All my team team cheering me on and other people who came to cheer on our school. You want to do it for them.
“It’s an individual sport, tennis, in some ways, but it’s very much a team sport. I think today proved it because I wouldn’t have won without all those people.”
Feeding on the energy of the crowd, an animated Fink fought off a match point in the second set and took control in the third with a drop shot at the net to win the third game and take the first break of the set, going up 2-1.
The only other break came in the final game, which Fink won at 15-40 when Vinagre’s forehand at the net sailed long.
Mount Greylock earned its points at first and second singles and first doubles, winning the day’s shortest and longest matches along the way.
No. 2 Brady Foehl earned a quick 6-2, 6-1 win over Cyrus Raines to get the day started on the right foot for the Mounties.
But top-seeded Belchertown (20-3) went ahead with the next two matches to finish up.
First, the doubles tandem of Nolan Vogel and Michael Laughner beat Mounties Gabe Gerry and Luke Swann, 6-1, 6-3. Then No. 3 Noah Pare beat Josh Narey, 6-3, 6-1.
Third-seeded Mount Greylock (12-1) needed wins from Fink and the first doubles pairing of Sam Dils and Toby Foehl to win the title.
First, Dils and Foehl held up their end with a come-from-behind 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win.
Then, it was down to Fink.
“I’m extremely proud of the way they came back from a set down,” Mount Greylock coach Stephen Bryant said. “It’s incredibly tough to come back from, especially in a big match like this. At this age, it’s really hard to pull that mental toughness and just focus and hit your shots and stay in the game.
“And they did it. I’m just extremely proud. … Usually, we’re just cruising along. But Belchertown’s the toughest team we played all year. It’s hard to handle that when you don’t get that very often, the toughness of a team. And they did it well. They weren’t discouraged. They still thought they could win it, and they proved it.”
Mount Greylock will look to prove itself again on Monday when it takes on Central Mass champion Hopedale in the state semi-finals at West Springfield High School. Last year, Mount Greylock dropped a 3-2 decision to eventual state champion Whittinsville-Christian; in 2015, Whittinsville-Christian advanced past the Mounties by the same score before losing in the state final.
Friday’s win ensured Mount Greylock at least one boys title in each season during the academic year: Western Mass cross country, state Nordic skiing and Western Mass tennis. The school will go for yet another title on Saturday afternoon when its baseball team takes on Wahconah at the University of Massachusetts.
“It’s nice,” Fink said. “I’ve been fortunate with cross country and tennis to win a lot of Western Mass titles. We have a nice tradition here with sports at Mount Greylock. You just want to be a part of it. You can see all those passionate people who came out.
“It feels nice to three-peat.”