The Manchester Essex boys tennis team found itself in a familiar situation in Wednesday's Division 3 North Semi Final showdown with Austin Prep.
For the second day in a row the Hornets played a highly competitive and extremely close match against a team with a similar skill set. Unfortunately, the No. 6 Hornets were on the wrong end of the scoreboard as No. 2 Austin Prep came away with a 3-2 win at home. Just one day earlier Manchester Essex defeated Cape Ann League rival Pentucket in another hotly contested 3-2 match.
"This was another great team match, everybody battled," Hornets head coach Rob Bilsbury said. "All the matches were super close and there was some great tennis played by both sides. They were just a little bit better today."
Just as it did on Tuesday, Wednesday's semi final match came down to a three set showdown. The No. 2 doubles match was decided in three sets with the Hornets tandem of Josh Christopher and Seth Cohen, a duo that was stepping in due to an injury to the Hornets regular No. 2 duo, fell just short in a 4-6, 6-1, 0-6 barn burner.
"Josh and Seth stepped right into the fire due to an injury and they were great," Bilsbury said. "There isn't any drop-off when they come in and they battled a very strong No. 2 doubles duo from Austin Prep. They started clicking in the second set but in the third set Austin Prep took it up a notch."
No. 3 singles Jeff Durkin saw himself in a tightly contested three set match for the second day in a row. On Tuesday Durkin's three set thriller was the deciding point for the Hornets, on Wednesday he was edged 2-6, 6-2, 4-6.
No. 1 singles Mike Fuca and No. 2 singles Calvin Lamothe picked up the Hornets wins 6-0, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2 respectively.
The Hornets finish off the season at 12-8 with another successful state tournament run. The Hornets have a lot of talent coming back next year including all three singles players which has Bilsbury excited about 2013 already.
"It was a pleasure to coach these guys this season," Bilsbury said. "They all get along well on and off the court and everybody is there for the team. I'm already excited about next season and hopefully we can make a run at a state title."